New GRT fare boxes expected for January 2017

GRT will begin to install new fare boxes in January 2017 to accommodate the new EasyGo Fare Card, which eventually eliminate paper tickets.

Grand River Transit has upgraded fare boxes to accommodate new EasyGo Fare Card

Discussions between the region and union representing GRT continue.

Grand River Transit is adding the finishing touches to the new fare boxes, which will gradually replace the existing ones starting January 2017.

Originally, GRT aimed for the new fare boxes to be installed in the summer, but ran into a few obstacles just before they launched, resulting in a six-month delay.

"We had set up a testing lab and used some of our staff to simulate customer experience and we noticed a couple of things that the fare box wasn't doing the way we wanted it to," Gethyn Beniston, project manager for transit services at GRT, told CBC KW's The Morning Edition host Craig Norris on Wednesday.

Those testing the new fare boxes felt like the transaction process was too slow and occasionally it would print transfers at the wrong time.

But overall, Beniston said that people had a positive experience using the fare boxes.

"People were generally happy with it, they felt it was a good experience," Beniston said.

GRT is in the process of introducing the EasyGo Fare Card for fare payment on GRT and LRT transit, and needed to upgrade the existing fare boxes to accommodate the card, which will eventually get rid of paper tickets.

Grand River Transit announced its new electronic smartcard would be called the EasyGo Fare Card. (Grand River Transit)

What to expect for 2017

Starting January, GRT buses will gradually transition to the new fare boxes while temporarily using the current system of using monthly passes and paper tickets, until all buses have the new fare boxes installed.

"Once we've got the fare box installation done, we will start working on distributing the fare card and setting up the infrastructure to allow customers to reload it," Beniston said.

By late summer, GRT will begin to installing the fare equipment on LRT trains.