Long Beach, News

Change you can’t believe in: Long Beach Transit plans to stop accepting pennies

In efforts to increase the efficacy of the public transportation in Long Beach, LBT buses will stop accepting pennies on Feb. 8.

“With the life of a penny, well, it gets passed around a lot, it gets dropped a lot and people find them,” Kevin Lee, the public information officer for LBT, said. “Pennies tend to get tacky and sticky… The tacky nature on a penny and even buildup [on the coin] is the top reason why fair boxes on [LBT buses] malfunction.”

Whenever there is a fair box malfunction, LBT buses are taken off the road; this can often create a delay in schedule, Lee said.

“These new regulations are all part of trying to make transit a seamless connection…you’ll only need one card, it’ll be a unified system,” Long Beach resident, Jeff Rabin said. “It will take a lot of getting used to though…I don’t think a lot of people understand how easy it is.”

Jimmy Thor, a freshman pre-nursing major, said he uses his Transit Access Pass card to get to Atlantic Ave. on school days. He said the changes could have some repercussions.

“It saves a lot of time,” Thor said. “But it might be an inconvenience for others.”

Commuters will still have the option to use other coins and bills, according to the LBT website. Lee said that although cash will still be an option on LBT buses, there are advantages to using the TAP card system.

“If someone is at the fair box dealing with change and money, you as someone who is holding a tap card, can come from behind and squeeze by and get on the bus,” Lee said.

Lee also said the TAP card readers are purposely put on the left hand side of LBT buses for accessibility and speed of bus boarding.

A TAP card can be reloaded with money, and essentially used as cash for boarding buses regionally and currently valid on 14 bus systems, including Metro, according to TAP’s website.

Lee said he recommends that costumers with disabilities, seniors and students purchase TAP reduced fare passes in order to continue to use the reduce fare prices on LBT.

There is a verification form application into the TAP program for a reduced fare card that could take could take up to six to eight weeks, Lee said.

“Long Beach transportation is not a perfect operation,” Rabin said. “But for a city bus system, they do a decent job. Most of the time you can rely on it and that’s critical.”

Along with the departure from pennies, there will also be changes to several bus routes on Feb. 8. For more information visit http://www.lbtransit.com.

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