Port Authority of Allegheny County delays cashless fare system (again) |

Port Authority of Allegheny County delays cashless fare system (again)

Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Cecilia Lamm of Shaler, left, and Nancy Hendrickson of Brookline, use ConnectCard terminals at Gateway Station, Downtown, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County has again delayed the start date for its light-rail system to go cashless.

The system, known as the T, won’t go cashless before April as equipment still has not arrived and existing equipment has technical issues, said Adam Brandolph, a Port Authority spokesman.

Originally, the T was set to go cashless in July , but 10 ConnectCard machines, which dispense the cards used to pay fares, had not yet arrived by June.

At that time, Brandolph said the system could go cashless after October.

Today, the machines still have not arrived from Massachusetts-based Scheidt & Bachmann.

They have been built and are awaiting testing before they are shipped, Brandolph said.

In addition, there is an issue with the existing machines connecting to the handheld devices Port Authority officers will use to check whether riders have paid their fares. Port Authority Interim CEO David Donahoe does not expect that to be solved until the end of the year, Brandolph said.

Also, the company is planning an operating system upgrade in 2018 that will affect the machines. Donahoe decided to implement the cashless fares after that occurs, to ensure system stability, Brandolph said.

The Port Authority will pay the company $669,000 for the upgrades, Brandolph said.

In a response, the company said it generally is not permitted to comment publicly about contracts.

The authority has not yet decided whether it will enforce the cashless fares with officers on the T, or use civilian fare enforcers, as a growing number of local groups are urging .

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, [email protected] or via Twitter @tclift.

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