I’m part of the ConnectCard pilot program, as I talked about earlier.
So far, it’s really awesome, with two caveats. One is about the machines used to reload the cards. I certainly wish there were more, or more importantly, the ones at Penn Station were working when I needed to use them. Although to be fair, it gave me an excuse to go into the Wood Street station, which I never have before.
The other thing I dislike about the machines, and this really is a small thing to quibble over (but also a small thing to fix): the slot where you put in your credit card only accepts cards one way, and it’s not marked. Took me three tries to realize I had to flip over my card, which was a bit of a pain, since you have to restart the whole process each time (from the short time out). Like I said, stupid little program, not really worth mentioning, but easy enough to fix (just need a sticker).
The one big problem I ran into, is one which the card system is trying to take care of, actually. When the operator accepts payment via a ticket or a pass, they hit a button and the rider puts the ticket (if applicable) into the little bag or gives it to the operator, no problem, quick and efficient.
If a rider pays by cash, the fare box takes about 10-15 seconds to reset before a ConnectCard can be scanned. A few times, I ended up holding up the entire line of passengers behind me, as I waited to tap my “quick and efficient” card. I’m not sure why there is such a long wait period, but it’s a major problem of the system.
Aside from that, once you can reload money via an online system, I’ll feel like PAT is really on the cutting edge (of 1990’s technology), hopefully that comes along soon.
I was approached by the Tribune Review, which is putting together and article about the reactions to the pilot program. As soon as I see it posted online, I’ll post a link here.
Update: Found the article, here it is.