As of next week, Port Authority customers who buy weekly passes at their local Giant Eagle, SHOP ‘n SAVE or Kuhns will no longer be able to do so.
But there is no reason to panic, they will instead have to transition to the new reloadable ConnectCard, which functions the same way.
“We’re now at that phase in the transition, which has been going on for a while, where Giant Eagle has connected the necessary computer equipment on their end at their service desks. It’s tested and working properly.”
The new plastic cards have several advantages over the paper passes in terms of flexibility and security. For instance, customers who normally purchase a weekly pass for $25 for 1-zone or $37.50 for 2-zone will just load that amount on the card. Then, instead of showing it to the driver or booth attendant, they merely tap the orange-colored rectangle on the fare machine on their bus or trolley, and it registers the fare.
March will also be the last month for those using monthly passes. The final transition, Ritchie said, is for customers who buy full-fare books of tickets. They will have to switch to the ConnectCard in April.
The half-fare tickets, used primarily by children up to age 11 and people with disabilities, and which are purchased in bulk by agencies such as the Allegheny County Department of Human Services for its clients, will still be sold.
“Our cash customers who use cash can continue to do so into the future, but the connect card can accommodate them also,” he said. “In addition to the existing fare structure for passes and tickets, customers can load any amount, $10, $20, and just draw down on that amount for each trip. “
The other advantage to the card is security. A rider who lost a monthly pass was out more than $100. The ConnectCard can be registered with the authority, so it knows to whom it belongs. If a registered card is lost, it will be replaced with the remaining balance in tact.
For more information on using the new cards, go to www.connectcard.org or call Port Authority customer service at 412-442-2000.