AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you plan to take the MetroRail you should probably stop by an ATM first.
Starting on Monday, the ticket vending machines will not longer accept credit or debit cards. However, you can still use a card if you book your trip through the Capital Metro App. Passes can also be purchased with a debit card at retail outlets, including many H-E-B, Fiesta and Randall’s stores.
“The CapMetro App offers customers more freedom and flexibility than the old-style platform vending machines,” said Dan Dawson, vice president of marketing and communications. “Customers can use their debit or credit cards anywhere, anytime to purchase tickets rather than waiting in line at a machine.”
CapMetro officials say the main reason for the change is the cost to upgrade software and hardware for the 22 MetroRail ticket vending machines to read chip-and-pin credit cards is too costly. “The cost analysis we did over a 5-year period showed that the cost to upgrade ($4.6 million) would be nearly equal to the revenue we would receive during that time span,” explained Francine Pares, a spokesperson with CapMetro in April.
By the end of the year, all ticket vending machines at MetroRail stations will be cash only. This weekend, the changes will start at the downtown, Plaza Saltillo and MLK stations. The others will get the new cash only machines over the next few Sundays.
The machines will still take CapMetro’s stored value cards which are available in $20 or $40 increments.