The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is making a big investment towards its future.
An $18 million upgrade is in the works to replace the fare collection systems across all of Metro Bus and Metro Rail. NFTA Public Affairs Director, Doug Hartmayer says the new system will bring about more modern conveniences.
“The new system will decrease passenger boarding time, provide better data for service planners, and financial tracking, and allow systems to interface,” said Hartmayer.
The new system will feature reusable smart cards, similar to those used in transportation systems around the world. Those cards will work on metro buses and at new turnstiles in rail stations.
The move means the end of the "honor system" for riders and a better ability for NFTA planners to determine how many customers are coming and going through the metro system.
Despite rough financial times for the NFTA, Hartmeyer says the investment is long overdue, and has become a priority since the current fare collection boxes are reaching the end of their useful lifespan.
“We’re not going to be able to attract new customers unless we provide an efficient system that meets their needs of the 21st century. Currently, and honestly, right now we’re not doing that,” Hartmayer said.
Hartmayer says the $18 million will be cobbled together from grants from state and federal funds.