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PATCO Launches Test Pilot for New Fare Collection System
The Delaware River Port Authority and PATCO High Speed Line today announced the start of a two-month pilot project to test PATCO's new automated fare collection system. The new fare collection system uses state-of-the-art technology that will make PATCO the regional leader in modern, convenient and reliable fare collection.
On Monday, August 14, more than 150 PATCO riders will begin testing all aspects of the new system as they travel between Woodcrest Station in Cherry Hill, N.J., and 9/10 and Locust Street and 8th/Market Street stations in Philadelphia. Some volunteers will use the new FREEDOM smart cards, replenishing the value using various methods. Other volunteers will use the new paper magnetic tickets, which will be sold in single and round-trip denominations. Volunteers will also use their FREEDOM cards to test the new parking equipment.
The new system, featuring two options for fare media, replaces the old magnetic strip tickets. Frequent customers who use the line for their daily commute to work will opt to use the FREEDOM card, a credit card-sized ticket that utilizes smart card technology to store value. The FREEDOM card can be replenished using the new automated vending machines at each PATCO station or by setting up an autoload function, which will automatically reload a value from a customer's credit card. PATCO riders, who use the system occasionally, have the option of purchasing the new paper magnetic tickets for single and round-trip rides. Both the FREEDOM card and magnetic paper tickets can be purchased at the vending machines located inside the stations.
From convenience to reliability, the new system has several benefits over the legacy system. Among the most important, due to the advance technology of the new system the number of defective tickets will be greatly reduced. Also, the FREEDOM card allows one to store value, eliminating the need to stand in long lines to purchase tickets. In fact, if a customer selects the autoload option, they never have to stand in line again. In addition, balance protection is available for customers who want to protect the stored value on their FREEDOM card. Another great feature of the new system is the payment options. The new automated vending machines accept bills so customers will not have to stop for change prior to making a purchase. FREEDOM card customers will also be able to use credit or debit card for their transactions.
"PATCO opened in 1969 as the premier transit line using the best fare collection system that was available at the time," said DRPA Vice Chairman Jeffrey L. Nash. "However, as time progressed and technology developed, PATCO's fare collection system became antiquated and outdated. The new system designed by Cubic provides advanced technology and will launch PATCO back into the position as the regional leader in fare collection technology."
Through a competitive selection process, PATCO hired Cubic Systems, Inc. to design and install the new fare collection and parking system. Cubic is the world leader in installation of fare collection systems and is currently installing similar systems for Metropolitan Atlanta, and for PATCO's sister agency, PATH (a subsidiary of the Port of New York and New Jersey). Cubic is also working on fare collection systems for San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
For more information about PATCO's new fare collection system, please visit www.ridepatco.org.
In addition to the PATCO High Speed Line, the Delaware River Port Authority owns and operates the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross bridges. It also owns and operates the RiverLink Ferry and Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at Pier.
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