Swiper No Swiping: Hudson Valley ID’s Malfunction on CDTA Buses

After much publicizing and advertising of free bus fare for Hudson Valley students, the CDTA and the Faculty Student Association found themselves in a spot of trouble when student ID cards stopped working on CDTA buses.

According to the Faculty Student Association, a test file of student ID cards was sent to CDTA a week before they were set to activate on Aug. 25. The test itself was a success, but on the morning of Aug. 25, as students started swiping their ID cards, repeated rejections proved either the system or the cards defective.

“Imagine my dismay to find out that the vast majority of [ID cards] were being rejected,” said Ann Carrozza, Director of the FSA, “I immediately got on the phone with Sarah and we started this conversation and then there were emails going back and forth between Sarah, me and CDTA.”

Carrozza was notified of the swiper error when a student told her, “I was able to ride the 100 bus [route] but once I took the 224, it was rejected right away.”

According to the Carrozza, “The good news is that no students were rejected [from the ride because of the error].”

Swipers were mainly ineffective on routes 85 and 224, the only routes that directly stop at Hudson Valley along Vandenburgh Ave. The error was fixed on these routes as of Aug. 31.

“Monday, I swiped my card. It said that the card was not valid and was thinking, ‘no way’,” said Thomas Gwinn, Liberal Arts major. Gwinn was directed to the Faculty Student Association where he was asked to provide his ID number. He said that he continued to have the same problem all week until, “CDTA got their system sorted out.”

On these routes, software upgrades were not present for the recently installed SPX Genfare New Fare Collection Systems. The upgraded system was installed in January of this year.

Around autumn of 2015, a new fare collection system is expected to be installed on CDTA routes. The system will include features such as mobile device access, web-based portals and the ability to use mobile devices for fare. The system’s overall cost is expected to be $7,337,400.

Last September, Hudson Valley student ridership reached 1,660 with 55,250 rides per month saving total commuters $62,183 all together. Between September and October of 2013, there was a 10.9 percent decrease in ridership. The trend followed the decrease in enrollment, as from October to the end of the semester in December, there was a 14.9 percent decrease in ridership.

According to CDTA, 14.6 percent of student riders use the 85 route and 26.2 percent use the 224.

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