On December 21, 2020, the Topeka Metro board of directors unanimously voted to reinstate all bus fares beginning February 1, 2021. Fares have been waived since the last week of March due to the pandemic.
On Monday, February 1, passengers must begin boarding through the front entrance of the bus and are required to pay fares. Passengers must have their fare accepted at the farebox or they will not be allowed to ride.
Topeka Metro's general manager, Bob Nugent, said that as soon as the decision was made to reinstate fares at the board meeting last month, communications went out to bus operators, passengers, community stakeholders and the public to provide notice to plan ahead for the changes.
"What we want passengers to understand is that in the past, bus operators may have helped someone with their bus ticket if it wasn't working in our fare box. The same with money, but because of COVID-19 precautions, operators have been instructed that if the fare does not work, the passenger will not ride. Bus riders need to make sure they don't have a crumpled up bill or bent, frayed or torn pass before they board."
Fares will be required for all fixed route buses, paratransit, and the Flex. Masks are still mandatory to ride, and bus operators, although they have a barrier around their driver's seat, are also required to wear face coverings.
"It's important that Topeka Metro get back to accepting fare box revenue. We are assuring those who ride with us that we have continued precautions to help passengers stay safe and also keep our employees safe," said Nugent.