Recently, a friend send me an excerpt of Metro’s rules for fare collection and enforcement for Rapid E:
I have some free advice for Metro management: this is insane, and the complexity and confusion it will create for your staff and passengers, and the discouragement from using ORCA, will vastly outweigh the whatever paltry benefit the zone fares could provide.
Here’s what’s actually going to happen in the real world:
- Virtually everyone with an ORCA card will pay whatever fare happens to be associated with whatever reader they tap.
- After a few weeks (or less) of flailing, fare enforcers and drivers will stop wasting their time trying to enforce these unworkable rules and just check that everyone (a) has paid something and (b) isn’t lighting up joints or drinking 40s in the back of the bus. (Let’s be real here, this is Aurora).
Real leadership from Metro would involve management acknowledging this reality, telling the King County Council that the current zone system is archaic and unworkable in this context, and that the council needs to do one of three things as part of the E Line deployment: abolish the zone fare system, make an exception for the E Line, or fund a
truly smart transit card system complete system of off-board readers that can handle tap-on and tap-off seamlessly.
UPDATE: Clarified the “truly smart transit card system” remark. ORCA itself can handle tap-on tap-off, Metro’s deployment of it can’t. Apologies for the error. — Bruce