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Paper passes are so 2018. How to purchase, use new cards from Macon Transit Authority

Here is how to purchase and use MTA’s new smart cards

Weston Stroud, Transit Planner for the Macon Transit Authority demonstrates how to purchase and use the authority's new smart cards. The cards will eventually replace the paper tickets riders purchase for ride packages.
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Weston Stroud, Transit Planner for the Macon Transit Authority demonstrates how to purchase and use the authority's new smart cards. The cards will eventually replace the paper tickets riders purchase for ride packages.

Riders on Macon Transit Authority buses now have what officials expect to be a more convenient way to purchase and use new multiple ride passes.

Up until now if you purchased a ticket for the bus, you would be issued a paper pass.

MTA said the paper passes had a short shelf life because they wear, tear, can bend, get wet and were easy to lose. Or if you wanted to ride without a paper pass, you had to have the correct change when boarding.

The new credit card-like pass, called a smart card, can fit in a wallet or billfold and can last for years, according to Jami Gaudet, a MTA board member, who provided information to The Telegraph about the card.

Weston Stroud, MTA transit planner, said the card, which is available now, not only is more practical, it also helps keep things moving.

“One of the benefits is just the speed in access of getting on and off the bus.” Stroud said.

When riders get on the bus, they simply tap the card on the fare box in order to ride and that means less time that a bus driver has to sit and wait for people to find their ticket and slide it through the fare box.

Eventually, the new cards will be the only way to purchase multiple rides passes, while paper tickets will still be issued for single rides.

Once riders buy the smart card, at at a one-time cost of $5 plus the cost of the ride or ride package, it’s easy to reload the same card once the number of purchased rides are used, according to MTA.

The cards are available at a kiosk for cash at the transfer center at the downtown Terminal Station. Riders may purchase a smart card using a credit card from a MTA supervisor on duty. The cards can also be reloaded at the kiosk or terminal.

During the launch, MTA will have additional staff on-hand to assist with questions and with smart card purchases sales rush.

The transfer center is open 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday

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