Courtesy of TARC

TARC said riders have until March 31 to exchange paper tickets for credit on the new MyTARC tap card, and the bus service is offering free rides systemwide for three days ahead of Monday’s system launch.

Customers also have until the end of March to get the card free with the purchase of $5 or more in fares, said a TARC spokesman, Jeremy Priddy. Starting April 1, the card will cost $5.

“The ticket exchange has been pretty easy going, besides the fact that you do have to come to Union Station; that’s the only place we can do it,” Priddy said. “Everyone who needs to exchange tickets, they can come in now, they can come in any time up until March 31.”

Paper tickets won’t be honored as of the start of service around 4:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan.7, Priddy said, adding TARC would offer complimentary rides across its system Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The card can be purchased online, at the Nia Center on West Broadway and at TARC’s Union Station headquarters, also on Broadway.

“Our hope is that for anyone who hasn’t had a chance to come to Union Station or hasn’t had a chance to come to the Nia Center, they can use that complimentary service to get down here and get those cards,” Priddy said.

In addition to the several-times-delayed launch of the tap-card system, TARC has recently kicked off a deep, half-million-dollar review and planning process. The operations analysis will take until the middle of 2020, and will be focused on making current service more efficient.

A long-range plan will follow, mapping out TARC’s role in an integrated, regional mobility system.

Priddy said TARC soft-launched a revamped website a couple of weeks ago, a little bit earlier than initially planned.

“There were a couple of rough days early on, but it’s starting to smooth out,” he said. “Over the next couple of days … you’ll start seeing that fill out a lot more.”