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BRTA proposes using Charlie Card and changing route fares

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Albany/HV: BRTA proposes using Charlie Card and changing route fares
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The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority is proposing some changes to its fare system. YNN's Madeleine Rivera has more on what we could see in the next several months.

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. -- "There's always something better to come along," said Janice Fisher, a Berkshire Regional Transit Authority customer.

For BRTA passengers like her, "better" may be just a short ride away.

"What we're trying to do is have a public transit system that would be user friendly," said Gary Shepard, BRTA Executive Director.

Thanks to a $600,000 federal grant that was received last year, the BRTA is proposing an overhaul of its fare system.

One of the key components of the changes is the use of the Charlie Card. Instead of doing this, riders can just store money on the card and simply tap the card on the fare machines to get on the bus. They would be also be able to use the Charlie Card in subways and buses in other cities and towns that have the same transit system.

"You can use this in Boston, with stored value, which may be a real attraction to college students," said Shepard.

Inter-operability would not be the only possible advantage of using the Charlie Card. Another one of the possible perks? Discounts to museums, restaurants and shops.

The BRTA is also proposing to change its route structure. Instead of zones, fares would be based on the number of towns you travel. It's $1.40 if you travel from one town to another and $3.60 if you're traveling through three towns or more.

"It just seems more up to date, more technologically advanced in what they're doing now," said Mark Shapp, a BRTA rider.

Passengers have until March 18 to send their opinions about the changes to the BRTA. If all goes well, the new system could be implemented by fall of this year.

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