ConnectCard Frequently Asked Questions
You may have questions about using ConnectCard. Read on for
answers to our Frequently Asked Questions. If any of your questions
aren't covered here, please call Customer Service at 412-442-2000
or for TTY, 412-231-7007.
Getting a ConnectCard
Paying Your Fare With ConnectCard
Adding Passes or Stored Cash Value to a ConnectCard
Annual Pass Subscriptions
Half-Fare, Wage Works and Job Perks Programs
What is ConnectCard?
ConnectCard is Port Authority's new smart card fare collection
system. It provides a more convenient and secure way to pay fares.
The system uses a plastic smart card called a ConnectCard with a
computer chip inside that can store a variety of fare options,
including passes and fare value.
Why is it called
ConnectCard is the perfect name for the new fare collection
system because it represents Port Authority's goal: to help connect
riders to the things that are important in their
lives, like family, friends, jobs, school, medical care,
entertainment and more.
Why is Port Authority moving to a smart
Port Authority's goal is to be as efficient and cost-effective
as possible. The ConnectCard system will enable the Authority to do
that. The ConnectCard system will result in an improved experience
for Port Authority riders, its employees and its retail partners.
View our ConnectCard benefits section below for more
How will Port Authority pay for the
Port Authority received a grant from the federal government
specifically for the purchase and installation of the ConnectCard
system. This grant cannot be used for any project other than the
smart card system.
Why does it say "a regional transit
partnership" on the front of ConnectCard?
Although Port Authority is the lead agency on this project,
ConnectCard was envisioned as a regional smart card system that
would make it easier for riders to transfer between the transit
services of Southwestern Pennsylvania. For instance, a regular Port
Authority rider who occasionally takes trips into another county
could load a monthly Port Authority pass on a ConnectCard, then
also load money onto their card to pay for trips taken on a
participating regional transit provider.
To date, ConnectCards are available for riders of the following
agencies: Port Authority of Allegheny County, Fayette Area
Coordinated Transportation (FACT). FACT riders should visit FACT's website for information
on how ConnectCard works within that system.
How will the ConnectCard system help
The ConnectCard system will benefit riders in a number of ways
- More Convenience: With the ConnectCard system, passes may be
purchased and revalued on a ConnectCard at select Port Authority T
and busway stations, Port Authority's Downtown Service Center, at
participating retail outlets and eventually online.
- More Security: Customers can sign up for Balance Protection in
case their ConnectCard is ever lost or stolen.
- Better Service: Data collected from the ConnectCard system will
enable Port Authority to tailor routes and schedules to better meet
How will the ConnectCard system help Port
- Capture Lost Revenue: The ConnectCard system's sophisticated
technology reduces fare evasion, which costs the Port Authority
thousands of dollars in revenue each year.
- Become More Efficient: Port Authority will be able to control
its costs better by reducing the amount of cash it handles and by
replacing its older, malfunctioning equipment.
- Improve Customer Service: More reliable equipment will allow
the Authority to better serve its customers.
- Generate Savings: The ConnectCard can be revalued and does not
have to be replaced every month, saving the Authority thousands of
dollars in printing and distribution costs.
- Be Greener: Reducing our paper use is good for the
Are ConnectCard users eligible for Rider
Yes! Rider Rewards is a program that provides special discounts
and offers at local businesses for weekly, monthly and annual
passholders. All riders using ConnectCard are also eligible for
these special deals. View our Rider Rewards brochure for a complete listing
of special offers.
What new equipment will riders
||ConnectCard fareboxes have already been installed on all
Port Authority buses and light rail vehicles.
||ConnectCard machines are being installed at select Port
Authority T and busway stations and at Port Authority's Downtown
||ConnectCard sales terminals have been installed at Port
Authority's Downtown Service Center and at many area Giant Eagle
locations. These terminals will also be installed at other select
retail outlets in Port Authority's service area. The terminals will
be used to issue and revalue passes and stored cash value on
||Validators will be located at most high-level T stations.
They will deduct fares from a ConnectCard and serve as an
alternative to waiting in line to pay fares.
How will riders know about the new
- Port Authority is providing riders with written
instructions on how to use the new equipment.
- During the initial rollout period, street teams will be
deployed in select locations throughout the system to assist
- Port Authority's Customer Service and Downtown Service Center
staff has been trained on the new equipment and has access to the
menu screens on their computers to assist riders.
- How-to videos were produced to help riders learn to use
the ConnectCard machines.
- Informational materials explaining how to use the new equipment
are distributed with the ConnectCard. Information is also available
at the Downtown Service Center and on this website.
What other changes will riders
- Paper passes and tickets will be phased out and riders
transitioned to ConnectCard.
- Annual pass users will no longer receive a pass for each month.
Their entire year's pass will be stored on the ConnectCard.
- At ConnectCard machines, weekly passes, stored cash value and
the equivalent of a 10-trip pass will also be sold on a paper smart
ticket, called ConnecTix.
What will stay the same?
- All calendar-based passes will still be available on
- ConnectCards will work like paper passes, but riders will tap
their ConnectCard to a farebox target instead of showing their pass
to the operator.
- Passes will still be sold at select retailers and the Port
Authority's Downtown Service Center.
- Senior citizens will continue to show their blue/yellow paper
identification cards to ride for free.
Getting a ConnectCard
When is the ConnectCard system
Riders will be transitioned to ConnectCard in several
- University of Pittsburgh students, faculty and staff began
using their university-issued smart cards in August 2011.
- Annual pass customers began receiving a ConnectCard upon
renewing their subscription in March 2012.
- Monthly pass customers began receiving ConnectCards
at certain locations in November 2012: Port Authority's Downtown
Service Center, the Shadyside Market District and the Wharton
Square Giant Eagle on the South Side.
- Weekly pass customers began receiving ConnectCards at Port
Authority's Downtown Service Center, the Shadyside Market District
and the Wharton Square Giant Eagle in December 2012.
- ConnectCard sales were launched at most local Giant Eagle
stores (about 50 locations) in March 2013.
- Stored cash value sales were launched in April 2013.
- Half-fare riders will receive ConnectCards later in
- ConnectCards will be distributed to participants in the Job
Perks and social service programs, as well as other school and
university programs during the last phase of the program, most
likely in 2014.
Port Authority will not move on to the next phase until each
phase is completed successfully. This timeline is subject
Where can I get a
- Currently, riders can only obtain a ConnectCard at Port
Authority's Downtown Service Center or at area Giant Eagle
locations (view complete
- Stored value and annual, monthly and weekly passes are
available at the Service Center. Stored value and monthly and
weekly ConnectCards are available at Giant Eagle
- Port Authority will make ConnectCards available to more riders
at more locations later in 2013.
- New cards cannot be purchased from ConnectCard machines.
Does it cost anything to buy a
At this time there is no additional charge for the card. You
only pay for the fare value or pass you are purchasing. In the
future Port Authority may charge a small fee for the card.
What kind of fare options are available on
ConnectCard currently offers passes and stored cash value, and
may offer other options in the future:
- Calendar-based pass options include annual, weekly and monthly
- Riders may also buy stored cash value for their card. The
cost of their trip is deducted from their balance when they pay
- Special cards for half-fare riders will also eventually
- Once the initial ConnectCard rollout is complete, Port
Authority may consider adding new types of fare options to
ConnectCard, such as day passes or weekend passes.
- Limited use smart cards, called ConnecTix, will be introduced
at a later date. Riders will be able to purchase a certain number
of rides on ConnecTix, which will be dispensed from ConnectCard
Has the fare structure changed at all with
For now, fare structure remains the same. ConnectCard rollout is
a gradual process and Port Authority is transitioning its existing
fare structure to the ConnectCard. Port Authority may opt to
make changes in the future to offer riders new and different kinds
of fare options. For more information on current Port Authority
fares, visit the Fares page at PortAuthority.org.
Are paper passes and tickets still
Because Port Authority is rolling out the ConnectCard in phases,
riders may continue to see some paper passes and tickets for a
little while longer.
Paper passes and full-fare tickets are no longer available at Port
Authority's Downtown Service Center. Giant Eagle is no longer
selling paper passes, but full-fare tickets may still be available
at some locations. Other retail partners are still selling
paper passes and tickets at this time.
Additionally, half-fare riders may continue to buy tickets from
the Service Center. These riders will be transitioned to
ConnectCard at a later date, as will those who receive passes or
tickets through Job Perks, social services or school programs.
Paying Your Fare With ConnectCard
How do I use ConnectCard to pay my
Very similar to the current system, but instead of showing a
paper pass to the operator or depositing cash into the farebox,
riders must tap their ConnectCard to the farebox's card
reader, which looks like a rectangular orange pad. A green light
and a single beep indicate that the card has been accepted.
How do I use ConnectCard at a stop with a
- Port Authority is in the process of installing validators at
select T platforms for convenient fare payment. When activated,
riders will simply tap their card to the validator.
- Until that time, riders are required to tap their ConnectCard
to the farebox inside the farebooth.
- Validators will only be available when farebooth attendants are
on duty. ConnectCard users must tap their card to the farebox at
all other times.
How do I use a one-zone pass for a
- ConnectCard can store cash value in addition to your pass for
the times your trip goes beyond one zone. Riders who buy a one-zone
annual, monthly or weekly pass but occasionally ride two zones no
longer have to worry about carrying exact change to pay the
difference in fares.
- To add cash value (known as "stored value") to your
card, visit a ConnectCard machine or retail outlet, such as the
Downtown Service Center or Giant Eagle.
- The extra zone charge will be deducted when you tap your card.
- You may still pay the difference in cash at the farebox if you
haven't added stored value to your card. However, we encourage
riders to add stored value to their card. Unlike cash, stored value
can be protected against loss or theft by registering your
Can I use my ConnectCard to pay for a
No. All individuals riding together must pay their own fare
separately using separate ConnectCards. Multiple ConnectCard taps
or "pass-backs" are not accepted by Port Authority fareboxes or
Will I be charged extra fare if I
accidentally tap my card against the target more than
No. Our system will not deduct extra rides or stored
cash value for multiple taps in a row. The first tap will
deduct your fare. Any subsequent tap will cause the farebox screen
to display an alert message ("Already Valid: Double
Tapped") and you will hear a triple tone, but you
will not be charged again.
How do transfers work with the ConnectCard
- During the early stages of the rollout, customers will still
use paper transfers. Once the ConnectCard system is fully
implemented, transfers will be stored on the ConnectCard.
- Riders must request a transfer from the vehicle operator or
fare collector before paying their fare. Riders using an annual,
monthly, weekly or student pass do not need to use transfers.
Are riders able to use cash value on a
ConnectCard to pay for transfers?
Yes. Riders must request a transfer prior to tapping their
ConnectCard. When the card is tapped, both the fare cost and
transfer fee will be deducted.
What happens when a ConnectCard doesn't
work at the farebox?
Riders should hear a single beep when they tap their ConnectCard
to the farebox's orange target. If this does not occur, tap the
ConnectCard again and hold it to the target until it beeps.
- If the message on the farebox reads "Insufficient Funds," go to
a ConnectCard Machine, the Downtown Service Center or a
participating retail outlet and place value on the card.
- If the message reads "Card Not Readable," tap the ConnectCard
again, but this time hold it against the card reader until a beep
and acceptance message is received.
- If the message reads "Already Valid: Double Tapped," it's
possible that your card was accidentally read twice by the farebox.
When tapping your ConnectCard, touch it briefly to the orange
target until you hear a beep, then remove your card. Please
note that Port Authority fareboxes do not allow for pass-backs;
riders traveling together may not share a ConnectCard on the same
- If the message reads "Card Not Valid," contact Port Authority
Customer Service at 412-442-2000 with the card's serial number so
they can research the problem. Please record the date, time and
vehicle number of the bus/T to help Port Authority resolve the
What happens if I only have a ConnectCard
and the farebox is out of order?
In the event that a farebox isn't working properly, riders with
a ConnectCard will not be asked to pay any additional fare.
How do I report a problem with a
If you've experienced a problem with a ConnectCard machine,
please call Port Authority Customer Service at 412-442-2000. Be
sure to have basic information handy like the nature of your
problem, location of machine, and time/date. Additionally, each
ConnectCard machine has a device ID number located on a tag above
the orange card target. If possible, please make note of this
number when you report the problem to Customer Service.
Why didn't I get my receipt from the
Some ConnectCard machines are experiencing a problem producing
receipts. We believe this issue is caused by curling of
the receipt paper and static electricity. Right now we are working
on modifications to the machine to alleviate this problem.
In the meantime, if you need a receipt for reimbursement
purposes, we recommend buying your fare from the Downtown Service
Center or a Giant Eagle store. If you need more assistance, please
call 412-442-2000 and press #2 to speak with a Customer Service
What is Balance
The Balance Protection program preserves the value on a
ConnectCard in the event that it is lost or stolen. It enables Port
Authority to deactivate the old card and transfer the rider's pass
and/or stored value balance to a new ConnectCard.
How do I sign up for Balance
- Annual pass customers may sign up for balance protection
when they purchase or renew their subscription.
- Other customers may register their cards by calling Port
Authority Customer Service at 412-442-2000. Please call 24 hours
after receiving your ConnectCard.
- Eventually we hope to introduce online registration for balance
Does Balance Protection cost
No. Balance Protection is a free service, but riders
must sign up by calling 412-442-2000.
Is signing up for Balance Protection
No. However, it is highly recommended, particularly for annual
pass customers, since the value on their card is $990 or more. The
value on an unregistered card cannot be replaced if it is lost or
What information is needed to sign up for
Riders will be asked to provide their name, address, phone
number and mother's maiden name. The mother's maiden name will
serve as the security code to verify that the card belongs to the
rider reporting it lost or stolen.
How is Port Authority protecting its
riders' personal information?
Port Authority is committed to protecting the information
collected by the ConnectCard system. The data we collect from
customers is transferred over a secure connection, password
protected and encrypted. Our database is further protected by a
Additionally, access to personal information is only permitted
when customers report an issue with their card and limited to a
handful of personnel who have special security clearance.
What steps should be taken when a
ConnectCard is lost or stolen?
- First, contact Port Authority Customer Service at
- If you are signed up for balance protection, Port Authority
Customer Service will deactivate your old card and
authorize a new card with your pass
and/or stored cash value balance on it. You must
visit the Downtown Service Center on Smithfield Street to receive
your replacement card. Bring a form of photo identification.
- Please note that if you did not sign up for balance
protection, the cash value and/or pass on your card cannot be
Will I be charged for a replacement
No, at this time there is no fee for a replacement card if your
ConnectCard is lost or stolen as long as your card is registered
for balance protection.
Adding Passes or Stored Cash Value to
Where can riders value/revalue a
How do riders value/revalue a
At a ConnectCard machine:
- Tap the ConnectCard to the orange target located to the right
of the screen.
- Your current ConnectCard cash balance and any active or
pending passes will show on the screen.
- Follow the onscreen prompts to add a pass or cash value to the
- Insert cash or a credit/debit card to pay.
- Tap the card to the orange target again to load your
purchased pass or value onto your ConnectCard.
Visit our Get Started page to view
videos on using ConnectCard machines.
At a retailer, such as Giant Eagle or the Downtown Service
- Simply hand your ConnectCard to the clerk.
- The clerk will add a pass or stored cash value to your card
using a ConnectCard retail sales terminal.
When can I add next week's or next month's
pass to my card?
Passes are available for reloading at the Service Center, Giant
Eagle locations and ConnectCard machines on the following days:
- Weekly passes: New weekly passes go on sale each Thursday. For
example, the weekly pass covering 4/7/13-4/13/13 goes on
sale Thursday, April 4 and is sold through Wednesday,
- Monthly passes: Monthly passes go on sale on the 16th of each
month and are available through the 9th of the month. For example,
monthly passes for April are on sale between March 16 and April
What is stored value?
Stored value is cash value that you may load onto your
ConnectCard to pay for transit rides. Cash value stored on your
ConnectCard is deducted to pay your fare (and transfer,
if requested) when you tap your card at a farebox. For
example, if you load $20 of stored cash value onto your
ConnectCard, then take a one-zone ride, $2.50 will be deducted from
Is there a maximum amount of stored value I
can put on my card?
Your ConnectCard can store a maximum of $200 in stored cash
value at one time.
How many fare products can my ConnectCard
store at one time?
ConnectCards will hold a maximum of two passes (one active and one
pending) plus a maximum of $200 in stored cash value. Let's say you
work in Downtown Pittsburgh and live in the West End, and typically
buy a one-zone monthly pass for your commute. A few times a year
you use the 28X to go the airport, so occasionally you'll need to
pay for a two-zone ride. Your ConnectCard can hold the current
month's pass and next month's pass, plus some money ("stored cash
value") to cover the zone charge for your airport
Can I switch between different fare
options on the same ConnectCard?
Yes. For example, if you initially purchase a ConnectCard loaded
with a monthly pass, you can later switch to a weekly pass or
stored cash value without needing to get a new card.
What payment methods can be used to
value/revalue a ConnectCard?
- ConnectCard machines accept MasterCard and Visa credit/debit
cards (including transit benefit cards) and cash. ConnectCard
machines are unable to accept more than one form of payment per
transaction. Please visit the Downtown Service Center or a
ConnectCard retailer if you need to use multiple forms of
- The Downtown Service Center accepts cash, credit/debit (Visa,
Mastercard, American Express and Discover), money orders and
transit benefit vouchers/cards.
- Participating retailers may have varying policies.
Please check with individual stores for details.
Is my pass or cash value available for use
as soon as it's loaded?
If you reload your card at a ConnectCard machine or
retailer, your pass or stored cash value is available for use
How can riders confirm that a pass or cash
value was added to their card?
The ConnectCard balance or pass product will show on the farebox
screen each time a rider taps their card, or at any ConnectCard
Machine and at Port Authority's Downtown Service Center. Riders may
also confirm their transaction history by contacting a ConnectCard
specialist at 412-442-2000 (choose option #2).
How can riders determine how
much money remains on their ConnectCard?
- The remaining card balance will show on the farebox screen each
time a rider taps their ConnectCard.
- Riders may also check their balance at any ConnectCard machine
or at Port Authority's Downtown Service Center.
- In the future Port Authority plans to introduce
online account management that will enable you to check your
balance from the ConnectCard website.
- Riders should NOT tap their card to a validator (at select T
stations) just to check their balance. Using a validator
will deduct money from your card.
Can I reload my ConnectCard
Port Authority is currently in the process of testing a new
ConnectCard online account management feature. This will allow
riders to add passes or stored cash value to their card from any
computer. Once testing is complete, this feature will be made
available to all ConnectCard users.
Are there any special precautions that must
be taken to protect a ConnectCard?
Yes. ConnectCards have components that can become damaged. Keep
the card in a safe place (like a wallet) to help ensure that it
doesn't become scratched or cracked. Also, be careful not to wash
it when doing laundry. Do not punch a hole in your card to put
it on a lanyard or keychain.
Can a ConnectCard get
No. ConnectCards do not contain magnetic material.
Will a ConnectCard still work if placed
next to another smart card?
Keeping smart cards next to each other will not damage the
ConnectCard. However, ConnectCard readers and fareboxes may not be
able to read your card when it's placed next to another smart
card. If this happens, simply separate the ConnectCard from other
cards and tap it again to the reader.
Annual Pass Subscriptions
Are all annual subscribers required to
switch to the ConnectCard?
Yes. Annual passes will only be offered on the ConnectCard. New
subscribers will receive their card at the time of purchase and
current subscribers will receive their card upon renewing their
With ConnectCard, an annual pass is now a year-long pass.
There's no more waiting to receive a new monthly pass in the
mail each month. Annual passes are valid for 12 consecutive months
and subscriptions begin on the first day of the calendar month.
Can Port Authority mail annual passes to
No. ConnectCards will contain a full year's pass valued at $990
or more. Port Authority wants to be sure customers receive their
card and that requires a signature. Riders may elect to have their
ConnectCard annual pass delivered via FedEx (signature required)
for a one-time fee of $12.
Can a credit card be used to renew an
annual pass subscription?
Yes, but due to new regulations, all credit card purchases must
be made in person at Port Authority's Downtown Service Center.
How does an Annual Go Pass work on a
For the present time, annual passholders who purchase a Go Pass
will use two cards: a ConnectCard (for transit), plus a plastic
white card to access the garage.
If an organization orders multiple annual
pass subscriptions for its employees/clients how will the
ConnectCard process work?
Each organization is required to designate a primary contact
person to serve as the ConnectCard administrator. This individual
will be responsible for assigning each ConnectCard, recording the
card numbers and contacting Port Authority with any issues,
including lost or stolen cards.
Half-Fare, Wage Works and Job Perks Programs
Will half-fare and Job Perks riders be
able to use ConnectCard?
Yes, ConnectCards will be available for these groups of riders
in the future. Please check back at a later date for more
How do WageWorks participants use
It depends on how you receive your benefits. WageWorks
participants who receive a Visa or MasterCard-branded transit
benefit card may use that card to purchase passes or stored value
for ConnectCard. The Downtown Service Center and ConnectCard
machines accept these cards as payment. Please note that our
ConnectCard machines only accept one form of payment per
transaction, so if you do not have enough on your card to cover
your purchase, the machine may reject your transaction. If you need
to use another form of payment in addition to your WageWorks card,
please visit our Downtown Service Center for your transaction.
WageWorks participants who receive a voucher to purchase transit
benefits must take their voucher to the Downtown Service
Please note that WageWorks benefit cards and vouchers are not
accepted at Giant Eagle or other retailers.
Those participants who receive passes in the mail or from their
employers will be transitioned to ConnectCard at a later date.