Updated: 2:40 p.m.
“Change is coming,” warn the destination signs on the front of Port Authority buses.
“Change is coming,” repeat the signs near the front doors.
“Change is coming,” the signs on the back of the buses display, for good measure.
In addition to being a little freaked out, you may be getting the idea that some sort of change is coming.
On Jan. 1, 2017, Port Authority will change how much it charges bus riders and how it collects fares. The transit agency will be at the Wood Street station from 2 to 6 p.m. today through Thursday and again next week to answer questions.
Can’t make that? Here’s a rundown of what to expect.
Starting Jan. 1, riders with a ConnectCard will pay a flat fare of $2.50. That’s all riders, even those outside of the city. A transfer will cost $1.
Riders with cash will pay $2.75 for each ride — no more paper transfers. (More on that below.)
Monthly passes for 2017 will cost $97.50, and weekly passes will cost $25. Port Authority will also sell an unlimited day pass for $7. (You can check out this fact sheet for more details.)
When riders pay
Currently, riders pay either when they enter or exit depending on where the bus is going and what time of day it is.
It is confusing.
Next year, all riders — regardless of where they are going — will pay when they enter. Port Authority is asking riders to exit through the back door.
Downtown free zone
It’s going away.
The light rail free zone, on the other hand, will remain.
Finding a ConnectCard
Clearly, it works out best for riders to get a ConnectCard under the new system.
At the moment, ConnectCards are free. Starting Jan. 1, Port Authority will charge $1 for the reloadable cards. (The agency originally considered charging $5.)
The cards are currently available at Giant Eagle locations, as well as a handful of other retail stores and at Port Authority’s Downtown Service Center. Port Authority will start selling ConnectCards through its 62 vending machines beginning Jan. 1. There are plans to add more machines “by the middle of next year,” per a spokesperson.
Here’s Port Authority’s map of where you can pick up your card: