This Angry Dude in Queens Is Reason #283 the MTA Needs Electronic Proof-of-Payment Yesterday

Man vs. off-board fare machine.

Pounding on these off-board fare machines probably didn't make them work better.
Pounding on these off-board fare machines probably didn't make them work better.

Off-board fare payment is a huge time saver for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who ride the city’s Select Bus Service routes. It cuts out one of the biggest sources of delay for bus service — the time-consuming process of each passenger dipping a MetroCard or paying cash one by one.

But the technology that off-board payment relies on could be better. Riders have to get receipts from ticket vending machines on the sidewalk. Without a receipt, you could get fined for fare evasion by inspectors. Few things are more frustrating than when the vending machines malfunction.

Watch — with the volume up — as this gentleman on Main Street in Flushing completely loses it trying to pay his fare for the Q44 (hat tip to Gothamist):

With the current fare payment technology, the MTA has to install and maintain these machines at every Select Bus Service stop. During busy times of day, riders have to line up to use them. It doesn’t have to be this way.

As the MTA phases in its next-generation fare payment system, a process the agency says it will begin next year, off-board fare collection could be scaled up with electronic proof-of-payment. A modern tap-and-go payment system would eliminate the hassle of the off-board machines — and speed up more buses.

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The new center roadway bus lane and SBS station on Woodhaven Boulevard just south of Jamaica Avenue. Photo: David Meyer

Select Bus Service Launches on Woodhaven Boulevard

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Select Bus Service is live on Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard in Queens. As of Sunday, the SBS package - off-board fare collection, camera-enforced bus lanes, and other transit-priority treatments - is speeding trips for tens of thousands of people who ride the Q52 and Q53 each day.