GRANITE CITY — As a part of its new Automated Fare Collection System, Madison County Transit will begin transitioning all half fare and free ride IDs to contactless Smartcards beginning in March.
The cards are credit-card sized and contain a chip that communicates with on-board validators. The validators “read” the information on the card and record the time, date and location of the transaction. Most importantly for passengers, lost, stolen or damaged Smartcard IDs can be de-activated to prevent unauthorized use and allow card-holders to apply and obtain a new ID.
All current ID holders must attend an ID distribution session before June 30 to have a new photo and ID issued. To facilitate ID distribution, MCT will begin hosting weekly ID distribution sessions at Edwardsville Station in March. Scheduled sessions will be 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month at Edwardsville Station and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Thursday (March through June), also at Edwardsville Station.
MCT will continue to accept the current free ride and half-fare IDs through June 30. To obtain a new Smartcard ID, individuals must meet eligibility guidelines and bring the necessary documentation. The following IDs can be obtained at a distribution session:
- MCT Senior Free Ride: Senior citizens, 65 and up enrolled in the Illinois Benefits Access Program
- MCT Senior Select Free Ride: Senior citizens 75 and up with a Madison County address
- MCT Benefits Access Free Ride (formally Circuit Breaker): Individuals enrolled in the Illinois Benefits Access Program
- MCT ADA Paratransit Free Ride: ADA-eligible ACT Runabout Paratransit users
- MCT Half Fare: Seniors 65 and up not enrolled in the Illinois Benefits Access Program, individuals with a valid Illinois Disabled ID and anyone with a valid Medicare card
Upon boarding the bus, passengers with the new Smartcard ID will be prompted to tap their card on the on-board validator near the front door. Passengers will be shown how to use the Smartcard validators at the ID distribution sessions.
Madison County Transit is not responsible for enrolling individuals in the Benefits Access Program. Applications must be completed online prior to attending an ID session. To enroll with the state of Illinois, visit www.cbrx.il.gov. For assistance with Benefits Access, call the Area Agency on Aging at (618) 222-2561. For information about MCT free ride or half-fare IDs, call (618) 797-4600, visit www.mct.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.