How’s this for a “war on cash”?
I’m back to driving the Sound Transit 550 and while I enjoy the freeway driving and wide stop spacing, I am missing RapidRide’s off-bus payment. There were lots of passengers paying cash on RapidRide but at least other passengers frequently had the option of paying off the bus and getting to their seat while I pulled out my keys to unjam my fare box or watched a stream of $1 bills go into the bill slot.
I realize that my distaste for the $1 bill can border on the obsessive. I still go out of my way to obtain and spend dollar coins and let everybody that will listen know that they are the 2nd best way to pay for the bus. (An ORCA card is the best) While waiting for bills to work their way into the fare box, I’ve taken to daydreaming about London’s bus fare structure to keep myself sane. To pay cash on a London bus, you’ll have to fork over £2.30 (approximately $3.50) vs. only £1.35 (~$2) if you pay with an Oyster card. To further encourage Oyster use, there is a daily cap of £4.20 (~$6.50) in lieu of an all-day pass. How’s that for a war on cash?
With the Ride Free area going away in September, it’s frankly mystery why Metro and Sound Transit have not switched to a similar fare structure to encourage ORCA adoption. After all, do we really want that passenger who dumps a mixture of small denomination coins and lint from a tattered envelope into my fare box, promptly jamming it, holding up the 5 buses behind me? That scenario hasn’t played out yet, but it will…