MyTARC cards roll out, pick up speed

The new electronic fare system has rolled out in Louisville

New myTARC cards, electronic fare system roll out in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Taking public transportation in Louisville may become faster with the new MyTARC card.

The electronic fare system allows users to pay with a “tap” of a plastic smartcard, replacing the decades-old fare boxes that only accepted cash and paper tickets.

While there are still options to pay cash, using the card scores you a discounted rate ($1.50 versus the normal rate of $1.75) and a transfer good for two hours from initial boarding. A 10-trip pass is $15.

The new system features modern electronic fare boxes.
The new system features modern electronic fare boxes.

Officials said the goal is to make fare payments more efficient.

“We are teaching the community how to pay us differently for the first time in an entire generation," TARC Interim Executive Director Ferdinand Risco said.

Ferdinand Risco said undoing a decade’s worth of habit with paper tickets was challenging.

The cards were initially scheduled to make their debut in October. Community education delayed the release, but TARC said the delay was intentional so that they wouldn’t leave any riders behind. More community education initiatives are to come.

“We want to become a mobility manager instead of just a transit agency,” Risco said. “We want to be able to help the citizens of Louisville, Kentucky move.”

Risco said TARC aims to help the community manage a mix of transportation needs. So if you hop on a bus and then take a public scooter, you can pay in just one location using the MyTARC card.

For some, the changes may be overwhelming. But lifelong rider Donald Green said they are welcomed.

“You don't have to look for change or money and unfold money and slide it in and wait to see if it is going to accept it or not,” Green said.

Green said he notices the efficiency of the cards, and he is also impressed by the technology. He refills his card on his phone. WiFi is also available in all 225 TARC buses, making it easy for consumers to reload their cards and check balances on-the-go.

A rider "taps" a MyTARC card on the fare box.
A rider "taps" a MyTARC card on the fare box.

“I guess it is about time they got up to date with the rest of the big cities,” Green said.

MyTARC cards can be purchased and registered online at the official website here. Card holders can also reload their cards online.

Cards can be picked up in person at TARC, Union Station headquarters, 1000 W. Broadway and the Nia Center at 29th and Broadway. More retail outlets are expected to offer the cards in the future. Loading up to $20 is also possible using the fare box on the bus.

Riders have until March 31 to transfer the value of paper tickets onto their MyTARC Cards.

You can learn more about the new fare system here.

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