Testing The Go-To Card
For the past month or so, I have been testing the MetroTransit's much-delayed Go-To Card system. I remember over three years ago when I started seeing things about Go-To Cards coming in early 2004 with the opening of the Hiawatha Light Rail line. However, the Go-To Card systems have been sitting idle for the last two years at light rail stations and on buses.
After a month of testing it, I'd have to say it's a very nice system. Instead of flimsy, disposable paper passes, this is a durable, hard plastic card like a credit card. The card does not need to be stuck in a machine, it just needs to be swiped over the card reader. (Sometimes it has been a bit whiny about it, misreading it if I swipe it over too fast.) It's much faster and easier to use than the old Stored Value paper cards.
However, the biggest benefit is the reusability. You don't have to buy new cards every month or two. You just keep using the card and putting more money on it. And putting more money on the card is getting easier and easier. Before you had to go to a MetroTransit outlet to buy a pass. Now you can add money to the Go-To Card at MetroTransit Stores or at any Light Rail station.
I just did it yesterday. I swiped my Go-To Card to the ATM-style ticket machine at the Light Rail station on the way home from work. I told the machine that I wanted to pay $10 for $11 of value on the Go-To Card. (Yes, they still reward people who don't pay with cash.) I stuck my credit card into the machine and it immediately transferred the money. It took less than a minute, printed me a receipt, and let me pay seconds later with the money I added to my Go-To Card.
Apparently the 2,500-person test has ran out and they will not start selling them to the full public until late January. I recommend you check it out when its available no matter if you just sometimes use the bus or you use it all the time.
My only questions are: when are they going to start testing the monthly pass Go-To Card system? And how does that work with the stored value? Can they be on the same card?