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Cutting transfers

January 29, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments
It is possible to get rid of transfers

It is possible to discontinue transfers

Cash payment on Metro buses has been steadily declining for years. This is good news since it improves system efficiency, given amount of time required to accept cash on buses. (Anybody who has stood in line behind a group of passengers paying cash knows exactly what I mean) A relatively pain free way to encourage more ORCA adoption would be to shorten the cut for paper transfers by 30 minutes. Current Metro policy is to cut transfers between one hour and 30 minutes and one hour and 59 minutes after a trip’s arrival time at Pike, Pine, or Union streets for Inbound trips or the terminal for other trips. In addition to this generous amount of time, Metro also directs drivers examining transfers to allow for headway time between coaches which could add, in theory, up to two hours to a paper transfer. These generous terms make paper transfers more valuable to passengers in most cases, not to mention the possibility of hoarding them.

To figure out when a transfer should be cut, I look at a trip’s arrival time at Pike/Pine/Union/Terminal, add two hours, and then round down to the closest 30 minute cut. So a 4:57 arrival time at 3rd & Pike would have a transfer expiration cut of 6:30. If the passenger is transferring to a route with 30 minute headways, the expiration time would actually be 7:00.

Long term transfers should be discontinued and a cash surcharge imposed to keep cash payment as an option but drive it to the lowest level possible. London’s bus fare structure is a perfect example. In my most recent trips to London I traveled by bus extensively and honestly don’t recall seeing a single person pay cash.

  1. Mad Park
    January 29, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    “By June 2012, over 43 million Oyster cards had been issued and more than 80% of all journeys on public transport in London were made using the card” per the Wikipedia.

    Truly phenomenal % of usage.

  2. January 29, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I don’t understand some riders. I know they’ve probably used their ORCA card dozens of times but they still haven’t gotten an idea on how it works.

  3. Michael Gillman
    January 29, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Beating up on the poor who live day to day is no cure for any problems except for convenience for operators. Many people can’t afford to put money on a ORCA, they live day to day and scramble for their fare. Cutting transfer time only punishes them for being poor.

    • January 30, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Everybody who relies on buses for their transportation is impacted by the delays cash payment cause in the form of less service. This isn’t about my convenience, this is about keeping the bus moving to provide the most service possible for the funding that is available. The low income pass will provide relief to the poor and lower middle class income brackets. It may not be enough, but it’s a start.

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