Fayette Area Coordinated Transit (FACT) is making life easier for riders with the introduction of its Connect Card, which will allow some customers to leave their cash at home and forget about securing a discount paper pass.
"We had to work out a few bugs, but everyone that is using it now seems to like it," said Lori Groover-Smith, FACT director.
Once the card is purchased, it can be upgraded to any amount from $5 to $200.
"It is a benefit especially to our cash customers," said Groover-Smith. "Because our drivers do not carry change, if a rider did not have the exact fare, they would have to pay extra."
Those who would secure monthly paper passes can now just tap the uploaded plastic Connect Card and take a seat, added Groover-Smith.
"It will make it much easier for everyone that regularly rides our buses," she said.
Currently, the card can only be used for fixed-route transportation or those who are traveling weekly to Pittsburgh. Groover-Smith said that in the future the card will be compatible for use throughout the region.
The area transit agency partnered with the Port Authority of Allegheny County to implement the smart card technology software that will also provide accurate ridership information to FACT officials. The authority provided 80 percent of the funding to purchase and install the software in the county buses.
"The card also eliminates fraud," said Groover-Smith. "Paper passes can be duplicated, the card cannot."
Last year, 185,380 riders used the bus to travel to fixed-route destinations, such as to Brownsville, Connellsville, Uniontown and Masontown, and other points in between. Transit service is also provided to Pittsburgh by FACT.
Other services are also available to residents, including a shared-ride program, curb-to-curb transportation services and others.
Through February, FACT is waiving the $5 Connect Card purchase fee, said Groover-Smith. Monthly pass rates will remain intact at $45.
Cards can be obtained at the main transit center located in Dunbar Township or at the Matthew Drive transfer center in South Union Township.
Customers can continue to use exact fare amounts when riding the bus.
For more information about Connect Card or FACT services or routes, visit the website at www.FACTbus.com or call 724-628-RIDE (7433).