Beginning today, riders boarding King County Metro buses on Third Avenue between Pine and Stewart streets by Macy’s in downtown Seattle will have another option – buying their ticket before they even board the bus. Crews installed the ticket vending machine at the northbound stop on Third Avenue, last week. The machine is part of a new pilot project designed to side-step the onboard farebox to test the concept of pre-paying for tickets. The idea behind the new vending machine is simple. Before the bus even arrives, you can buy a ticket from the machine with either cash or by using a credit or debit card. Metro thinks this off-board payment option will help riders who don’t have ORCA cards board more quickly. Metro also wants to assess whether the machine has the potential to cut down on schedule delays that can occur while buses wait for riders as they pay with cash at the farebox. The new machine is being installed with help of Seattle Department of Transportation crews. Metro has been working closely with the city for more than a year on a number of Third Avenue improvements to better serve transit riders and pedestrians. The new machine is easy to use. Just choose the type of fare you need and pay with cash or a credit/debit card and the machine will issue you a ticket to show the bus driver when you board. Tickets are good for two hours—you can ride Metro as much as you like during that time – no need to get a paper transfer. The tickets are only good on Metro buses and are not valid on other transit systems. Following a six-month testing period, Metro will assess the pilot project and look at equipment performance, usage and potential benefits to bus schedules before deciding whether to expand the program. Riders can help by participating in a survey to assess how well the ticket vending machine served their needs. Learn more about the pilot by visiting Metro’s website.