The Capital District Transportation Authority will hold a series of public meetings starting later this month to talk about plans to introduce smart cards and mobile ticket technology.
The proposal will offer new options for those who use prepaid cards, including fare discounts.
CDTA officials said there will be increased flexibility for frequent riders or those using pay-as-you-go debit cards. With the new system, they will also be able to securely monitor their account on line, which isn’t now possible.
“You’re going to have a little more flexibility and a lot more security,” said Jonathan Scherzer, CDTA’s marketing director.
Current plans are to present the final smart card plan for approval by the CDTA board late this year, with the goal of rolling it out to customers sometime next year.
The first public meeting will be Wednesday, July 30, from 6-8 p.m. at the Clifton Park/Halfmoon Public Library.
Other meetings will be Tuesday, Aug. 5, at the Uncle Sam Atrium in Troy; Thursday, Aug. 7, at North Albany Academy in Albany; Tuesday, Aug. 12, at the Albany Public Library main branch; and Thursday, Aug. 14, at the Hamilton Hills Boys & Girls Club in Schenectady; and Tuesday, Aug. 19, at the Cohoes Senior Center in Cohoes. All the meetings will be 6-8 p.m.
Scherzer said a formal public hearing will also be held, probably sometime in September.
CDTA plans to offer fare discounts as an incentive for people to start using the new cards.
Under the proposal, a “pay as you go” debit account would offer the first three rides on any bus on any given day for $1.30, a discount from the current $1.50 for basic and $2 for BusPlus. Rides beyond that would be free for the rest of the day.
For people who already qualify for half-fares, with a smart card they would pay 65 cents for first three rides, with any additional rides free the rest of the day.
A “Frequent Rider” smart card will be offered at a cost of $65 for 31 days of unlimited use. The half fare cost would be $32.50.
The smart cards will include photo identification.