Metro-East News

Madison County Transit District creates new types of passes

Beginning in January, when Madison County Transit District riders pay fares, they will be able to buy a pass that gives them two-hours of unlimited rides within the area.

The Madison County Transit District Board on Thursday created a new set of passes for riders.

The passes include a two-hour regional pass for $3. It would allow for unlimited multi-directional rides on all MCT fixed routes, as well as MetroBus routes and MetroLink trains, for two hours, according to the transit district.

Metro also sells a regional pass for the same price, which already is accepted by MCT.

District officials, at their meeting Thursday, also approved a $2 pass for two hours of unlimited multi-directional rides within a single-fare zone.

“It’s a very popular pass; it’s used by lots of systems,” said Jerry Kane, the MCT managing director.

MCT also created an express round-trip pass for $5, which will only be good on express routes, for round-trip service for one day. It also will include rides to Rams games and MUNY Friday night performances.

Finally, the creation of a senior pass was approved. Seniors who are 75 and older will be able to ride for free on MCT fixed routes, Kane said.

The district also hopes to be able to issue the pass through its planned smart card technology, Kane said.

Many seniors go through the state to apply for free rides. The MCT senior pass however won’t have income guidelines associated with it, Kane said.

“This will make it easier for them and give them some mobility,” Kane said.

Beginning on Nov. 1, the district expects its new automated fare collection system to be functional, Kane said.

At that time, the district plans to eliminate transfer fees and will issue two-hour passes at no charge to act as a transfer.

Issuing transfer tickets can be confusing for both riders and drivers, and can be a cumbersome task, officials have said.

Charges for the new passes are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 10.

The time between Nov. 1 and Jan. 10 will serve as a “break-in” period for both riders and drivers to learn about the new collection system and passes, Kane said.

The new passes are part of a second phase of changes coupled with a fare hike approved last month. The fare increase goes into effect on Aug. 16.

Other changes, adjustments

Transit district officials also revised and restructured fare boundaries, which included:

▪  Extending the Granite City zone boundary north to New Poag Road from I-270;

▪  Transitioning the #6 Roxana – South Roxana shuttle to a Cross County route: the #6 Roxana-Pontoon Beach;

▪  Eliminating the express trip on #18 Collinsville Regional, and

▪  Redefining the fixed routes in the Alton, Granite City, Edwardsville, Collinsville and Highland zones.

“This is the first time … MCT has ever approved its fare zones,” Kane said during the meeting. “One of the reasons we’re (doing this) is to make sure our fixed route fare zones are identical to our para-transit fare zones.”

The changes were made as part of the district’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The district has to provide ADA service for those who live within three-quarters of a mile of its fixed routes.

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