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Transit's electronic fare boxes go online Friday

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Eight of Winnipeg Transit's buses have been equipped with the machines.

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Eight of Winnipeg Transit's buses have been equipped with the machines.

Winnipeg Transit's long-awaited electronic fare boxes will begin to go online on Friday.

Eight of Winnipeg Transit's 565 buses have been equipped with the $20,000 machines that accept coins, issue transfers and -- late this year -- will start reading programmable smart cards.

All transit buses will have the new readers by early July, transit plant manager Tony Dreolini said.

The smart card readers will go online by December, if not earlier. Before they do, transfers and tickets will be accepted manually and riders with passes may continue to show them to drivers.

The entire technological upgrade, originally envisioned in 2003, cost $17.8 million.

It took longer than expected to implement because the mobile technology did not yet exist, Dreolini said.

The new transfers issued by the machines are smaller and feature QR codes.

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