The STL is taking part in a sweeping project jointly developed with several other Québec transit authorities, including the STM and exo, that will equip its buses with modern smart chip card readers that are more efficient, user-friendly, and loaded with features aimed at optimizing universal access.
We began gradually rolling out the new fare card readers on our buses during the Fall 2019. This is a complex process requiring the new equipment to be synced with several other systems aboard the buses, which is restricting the pace of installation to about two readers a day. We expect to gradually launch the new system in 2020, once enough buses are equipped with the new readers.
WHY NEW EQUIPMENT?
The new readers are more modern and efficient than the current fare collection boxes. These readers instantly “validate” whether you have the appropriate fare required to board the bus..
The new system will read OPUS passes at least twice as fast, which will speed up boarding.
Universal access will be enhanced thanks to larger screens, better audio and optimized location. Also, messages will be colour coded and accompanied by pictograms and a brief description so they may be instantly understood (e.g. a checkmark over a green background to signify the fare has been accepted, an X over a red background to signify it has been rejected, etc.). A voice guidance option will also be available for riders who are blind or visually impaired.
In addition to the pictograms and colour coded visuals, the screen will also display useful information, such as “9 trips left”, “You card will expire soon”, “Show photo ID,” etc.
WHAT CARDS TO USE, WHERE AND HOW?
New readers – Chip cards (except credit cards and Interac)
The new equipment will validate OPUS passes, STL passes loaded with pre-paid trips, and the ARTM Solo pass.
In a further phase of the project, the new readers will eventually accept credit cards, but not Interac.
Fare collection box – For cash fares, transfers and STL single-trip tickets on magnetic stripe cards
Users will continue to use the collection fare box as usual.
Terminals – Credit cards
The STL will continue using the payment terminals already on the buses. A support rod developed by our Maintenance Team made it possible to install the new readers alongside the credit card terminals. Riders will be able to continue to use the Visa or Mastercard instant tap-and-pay system when boarding.
We plan to integrate the credit card payment feature to the new readers in a further phase of the project.
PROJECT TIMETABLE – KEY PHASES
Fall 2019 – Early 2021
Installation of the new readers at the front entrance of each bus, on a new support pole that will also hold our credit card terminals.
Activation of selected readers to test the software. Once the test is successful, we will proceed with the gradual activation of readers as they are installed.
Fall 2020 – Spring 2021
Process of gradually rendering the new system fully operational network-wide.