HYDE PARK — Metra is getting rid of the last of its cash-only ticket kiosks as more passengers choose credit care machines or the app to buy tickets.
The Metra Electric Line, the last line to use cash-only kiosks, will get rid of the final machines on April 30, according to Michael Gillis, a spokesman for Metra.
“We have seen steady declines in ticket sales through cash-only vending machines as more customers opt for credit card and mobile purchasing, and it is no longer cost efficient to maintain them,” Gillis said.
He said the change will save Metra $534,000 annually by eliminating the need to maintain the 15 machines.
Gillis said Metra will make sure the change doesn’t force anyone without a smartphone or credit card to pay more for a ticket.
“If they don't have access to credit card or mobile purchasing options, they will be able to pay with cash on board the train at no additional cost,” Gillis said.
He said the only exceptions are the Millennium or Van Buren stations where there are still agents that accept cash.
Gillis said the proportion of tickets bought from cash-only machines declined to 14 percent in 2016 from nearly 36 percent in 2012.
“The most significant contributor to this change in buying habits was the introduction of the Ventra app in late 2015,” Gillis said. “Currently, the app accounts for about 20 percent of tickets on the line, with purchases from credit card vending machines and onboard purchases also seeing slight increases.”
Credit card ticket kiosks are now in 20 stations on the Metra Electric Line.