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10/8/2012



Rail News: Passenger Rail

PATCO to end contactless bank-card pilot program


On Oct. 20, the Port Authority Transit Corp. (PATCO) plans to end a year-long contactless credit/debit card pilot program at station fare gates because of high costs.

PATCO General Manager John Rink called the program, which was intended to last one year, an "unqualified success."

"We hoped it would demonstrate that our automated fare collection system is compatible with the latest wave-and-pay technology," he said in a prepared statement. "It did, but for now the transaction costs for bank-issued contactless cards are too high to justify adopting the program permanently."

Given the current rates of bank-card usage at PATCO stations, processing costs would exceed fares by more than 150 percent, agency officials estimate. During the pilot, PATCO averaged 3,000 contactless card transactions per month.

Riders will still be able to pay with PATCO FREEDOM contactless stored-value card, which can be recharged with Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit or debit cards, PATCO officials said.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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