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Does Cincinnati Need Different Streetcar Ticket Machines?

Jay Hanselman

Cincinnati council members are running out of patience with the company responsible for streetcar ticket vending machines.  

The units have caused problems since revenue service began more than a year ago.  Problems include difficulty when using credit cards, and the machines unexpectedly shutting down.  
Council member Amy Murray said Tuesday the major transportation committee wants answers in two weeks.

"This should be basic technology, you see it in all applications every day," Murray said. "And why this hasn't worked for a year, and still doesn’t work, is what's confusing to us."

The committee is asking administrators to review options for terminating the contract for the machines and finding other firms who can provide such service.

Council member P.G. Sittenfeld wants a solution and that may involve a new direction.

"I have basically no confidence that you all have either the expertise or the sense of urgency and speed to fix this," Sittenfeld said.

The machines being used in Cincinnati were made by Genfare.  Company president Darren Dickson attempted to outline a plan to correct the problems.  But council members grew frustrated as most of his presentation was on what the problems are rather than concrete steps to fix them.

Dickson did indicate the machines were using "defective ticket stock" for most of this year.  That problem was corrected earlier this month after it was discovered.  But council members were again upset it took several months for the issue to be found.

Dickson pledged to continue working on the resolving the issues even as council members were discussing terminating the company's contract.