Archive for March 5th, 2018

Our local area bus transit company, the Capital District Transportation Authority, or CDTA, has been making some significant changes in the way people pay to ride. The standard fare remains $1.50 per ride.

It used to be that they sold this whole array of magnetic-striped paper card products. There was, among them an every-day card-for-31 days for $65, an every-weekday card for $55, and a 10-ride card for $13. One could also buy a day card for $4, which makes sense if one were taking three or more buses in a day.

CDTA stopped selling all of those at the end of December 2017 in favor of something called the Navigator smartcard and mobile ticketing system.

If one has any old magnetic passes with a balance, they need to be used by April 1, 2018. After April 1, all magnetic strip passes will expire. Any balances on the cards after that date cannot be transferred to the new Navigator Card and no credits will be issued.

As it turns out, I’ve been using the Navigator since May 2017 and I must admit that I love it. CDTA offers Frequent Rider card, which makes sense if one rides twice a day or more nearly daily. But for me, the Pay as You Go option works better. I might ride my bicycle to work, put the bike on the bus up the hill, then ride the bike the rest of the way home.

Oh, yeah, the ad: the bus driver is explaining to a departing passenger that if one takes more than three buses in one day on the Pay as You Go model, the fourth and additional rides are free. As I was walking off the bus behind her, I continued that what the driver said was correct. I could visualize that someone watching this might think I was a paid shill, but no.

In the winter, i.e., non-bike weather, I sometimes take two buses to my allergist, one bus from the allergist to my office downtown, and a bus home. Each of the first three rides cost $1.30 – or 65 cents each for the half-fare riders – but the fourth and subsequent trips are free.

The one disadvantage of the new system is that CDTA no longer offers magnetic change cards for the $1.50 fare. I’ve seen a few people just put in two one-dollar bills. Some creative folks team up with a friend and put in three ones for two folks.

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