When was the last time you encountered a telephone booth? Some of us remember when they were a ubiquitous part of any public space. Times have changed and now 85 percent of us carry a smartphone everywhere we go. These smart devices make everything — from contacting loved ones, to posting on social media, to checking entertainment options, to shopping — more convenient.
Smartphones have also made taking transit easier. In 2014, Capital Metro introduced the CapMetro App to help our riders plan trips, get real-time transit information and buy passes on the go. In fact, we were one of the first transit agencies in the U.S. to develop such an app. To date, more than 711,000 tickets and passes have been sold using the CapMetro App.
Out with the old, in with the new
Beginning the morning of Oct. 10, ticket vending machines (TVMs) at all 9 MetroRail stations will go cash-only, and no longer accept debit or credit cards. In addition to cash, the TVMs will continue to accept “tap” stored value cards and electronic change cards for Commuter Day Pass and Commuter Single Ride ticket purchases.
The changes will be phased in over a 3-week period:
- Oct. 10: Downtown, Plaza Saltillo and MLK Jr. Stations
- Oct. 16: Highland, Crestview and Kramer Stations
- Oct. 23: Howard, Lakeline and Leander Stations
Why is Capital Metro making the TVMs cash-only?
Like other retailers, Capital Metro must upgrade the machines to stay current with national credit security regulations that govern credit and debit card transactions. Those regulations require new software and hardware, which would come at a considerable cost — nearly $5 million over a 5-year period! By making the TVMs cash-only, Capital Metro can, instead, invest more in the transit services we offer to you.
A matter of convenience
The CapMetro App is the most convenient way for riders to use debit and credit cards to purchase MetroRail passes. Just think, you won’t have to stand in line at the TVM and chance missing the train. Instead, you can buy a pass anywhere, anytime. Plus, the app makes purchases faster; you only have to enter your card number once when you set up your account.
As with the phasing out of the pay phones, which were once in all public places, we imagine that over time, smartphones will become the norm for making basic purchases.
We understand, though, that change can be challenging to some of our customers and so other options remain available for those wanting to purchase passes using bank cards, such as Capital Metro’s Online Marketplace and the Transit Store downtown at 209 W. 9th Street. In addition, customers can still use debit cards to purchase passes from select retail outlets, including many H-E-B, Fiesta and Randall’s stores.
You can get more information about the upcoming changes to TVMs at capmetro.org/tvm or by calling the GO Line at 512-474-1200.