Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s new Electronic Payment System (EPS) replaces all fare boxes with a more convenient, reliable system.
The new STAR card and ticket is a contactless smart media that will allow JTA riders to pay their bus, trolley and shuttle fare without the need for cash by simply tapping the card on the fareboxes.
There will be two types of STAR media:
Extended-Use STAR cards
Durable plastic, credit card-sized media which contain a microchip that stores data electronically. The data is read and re-encoded when the smart card is tapped at a farebox. The STAR cards can be loaded or reloaded with time-based passes (such as weekly or monthly), specific number of trips or dollar value.
The STAR card will capture all discount pass programs. Seniors and other discount pass holders will use a STAR card that features their photo on the back of the smart card.
Customers will be able to have their STAR card automatically reloaded every month with an automatic deduction from their bank account or credit card. This option will be available online or at Rosa Parks Transit Station. A unique web-based card registration process means if a card is lost or stolen, the remaining value will be restored on a new card by JTA. The card is good for three years.
Limited-Use STAR tickets
Primarily designed for out-of-town visitors and those who use JTA less frequently. These tickets can be reloaded but are made of paper and are much less durable than the extended-use card. The limited-use STAR tickets do not offer all the features supported by the extended-use STAR cards.
JTA customers will be able to add money to the STAR card or ticket by simply accessing Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at major stations and hubs.
The user-friendly TVMs will dispense both extended-use STAR cards and limited-use STAR tickets and will allow customers to reload value. The TVM will accept cash (except for pennies), credit cards or debit cards for payment.
Benefits of STAR
Benefit # 1: Reduces abuse
Currently, bus operators must recognize and track 20 different types of cards and tickets. With the STAR media, they only need to recognize three. The STAR media uses high security microchip encoding, which is virtually impossible to duplicate.
Benefit # 2: Enhances riding experience
The STAR media will make riding transit much easier and more convenient, making it a more attractive option over rising gas prices and increasing traffic situations.
Benefit # 3: Faster boarding
The STAR media will make boarding the bus much faster, as there are no magnetic strips to swipe. Passengers will tap the card and board reducing the time the bus needs to remain stopped, possibly shortening travel time.
Equipment installation began in early January, with the progarm launch scheduled for January 30, 2012. The total cost of the base system has been fully funded by an ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) grants.