AUSTIN (KXAN) — Capital Metro is getting rid of debit and credit cards for MetroRail. It’s now cash only if you pay at the train vending machines.
Capital Metro says they would’ve had to spend nearly $5 million to upgrade their machines, to accept newer credit cards with the security chip.
“I feel like cash, depending on who you are, may not be the easiest thing to always have,” explains John Ming, who sometimes takes the train.
But not to worry, if you don’t have cash, there’s still a way to use plastic. CapMetro is encouraging you to use your smartphones and download their app. Once you have the app, you can link your credit and debit cards to pay your fare in advance. Your phone then becomes your pass, so you don’t need a paper ticket.
“I found out it was so much more convenient, especially when I was in a hurry,” said passenger Analee Cantu of the app. “If I knew I was running late to the train and I didn’t have time to stop at the little vending machine to pay for it.”
Ming doesn’t believe the transition to cash is a big deal.
“If you’re planning on a trip, or planning on doing something on a regular basis, going online and using the app, or having cash doesn’t seem like it really makes a difference,” says Ming.
Riders just hope CapMetro will use the money they saved on the machines, to improve the rail and create more stops.
The change over to cash will only take effect at the downtown, Plaza Saltillo and MLK Jr. stations Monday morning. The Highland, Crestview and Kramer stations will change to cash only on October 16th. The Howard, Lakeline and Leander stations will switch on October 23.
Passes can also be purchased with a debit card at retail outlets, including many H-E-B, Fiesta and Randall’s stores. You can find more information about specific locations online.
The vending machines at all nine MetroRail stations will continue to accept “Tap” Stored Value Cards for Commuter Day Pass and Single Ride ticket purchases.