Heading to Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Why you’ll need a parking tag and when you can skip it

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First day of new Metra fares sees long lines at downtown terminal ticket machines

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2023 A Look Back: Meter Maid Award

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Edmonton transit goes to full-time Arc fares starting Wednesday, decommissions older machines

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Major changes to Metra ticketing set to begin this week

Attention Metra riders: there will be some big changes starting this week with how you purchase and use your train tickets.

The changes are set to take effect on Feb. 1, with many ticket windows closing, new vending machines installed and the elimination of certain purchasing options.

The main change will be ticket windows closing on all of the railway agency’s lines. According to Metra, windows already closed on BNSF lines by Jan. 8, and all remaining ticket windows, including those at downtown Chicago stations, will shutter on Feb. 1.

Vending machines have been placed at the busiest stops impacted by the decision, with riders encouraged to use the Ventra app on their mobile devices.

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Metra overhauling fares, eliminating ticket windows

Big changes are coming to Metra over the coming weeks as the commuter rail agency introduces a new fare structure February 1st.

Metra is overhauling ticket prices, reducing zones from 10 to 4, eliminating 10-ride passes, and closing the rest of its ticketing windows.

The new fee structure, approved by Metra’s board in November, is meant to simplify pricing and attract new riders. Like many transit agencies, Metra is facing a potential crisis with federal COVID-19 funds expiring in 2026.

Monica Carroll, 63, rides Metra three times a week to commute to Chase Tower in the Loop from her home in north suburban Antioch, about 50 miles from Chicago. She said she’s bought the monthly pass since she started her job a year and a half ago, because it was the most affordable option for her at $100.

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Mark Twain Lake installs new fee machines
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 3:46 PM PDT

RALLS COUNTY, Mo. (WGEM) – As the weather warms and more people flock to Mark Twain Lake, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made some changes.

One of those changes was the installation of new automated fee collection machines.

The machines are card only, and are located at the visitor center, the shooting range and various recreation areas such as: Ray Behrens, Robert Allen, Indian Creek, and John F. Spalding.

Army Corps Natural Resource Specialist Alex Threlkeld said the machines were implemented in lieu of the pandemic.

“Coming out of COVID we tried to reduce human contact between one another, and this was an advantageous means of providing this service to our visitors, making it easy, making it convenient and so far it has worked out very well,” said Threlkeld.

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‘Iron Rangers’ Give Way to Modern-day Fee Collections Options



Story by Samantha Heilig

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District

For many years, the ‘Iron Ranger’ was a primary fee collection method for recreation areas across the county. These locked metal cases with small slits in the side for depositing cash payment envelopes, were commonly used at boat ramps, campgrounds and beaches where reservations were not required and onsite fee attendants were not available. This recreation season, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, has introduced two new fee payment methods to replace those Iron Rangers and make fee payment easier for recreational users.

Self-serve payment machines and mobile apps, which only accept credit or debit card payments, are now the only method of payment for use at select boat ramps, beaches and even a few campgrounds found throughout the District. No cash, coins or checks will be accepted at these sites.

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Automated Fee Machines Installed at Lake Red Rock

Posted By: Andrew Schneider  April 14, 2022 @ 4:47 am

New this year, Lake Red Rock has installed automated fee machines at all US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)-managed boat launches and beaches. Those using the services can follow any onscreen instructions, insert a debit or credit card, and display a ticket/receipt on the dashboard of their vehicle. Cash and checks are not accepted.

America the Beautiful Senior, Access, and Military passes, Every Kid in a Park Passes, and USACE annual day use passes are still accepted at beaches and boat ramps. Visitors should make sure to have a pass visible on their rearview mirror or on their vehicle’s dashboard.

Day use fees are collected and enforced at boat launches from April 1st through September 30th and at beaches from Memorial Day weekend thru Labor Day weekend.

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Cash is no longer king at Nashville District lakes
By Heather King
Nashville District Public Affairs
Published March 7, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 7, 2022) – There is an old saying, “cash is king.” Times are changing, and cash isn’t king anymore.

Across the nation, COVID – 19 is changing the way businesses interact with consumers. As an effort to reduce contact between people, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed in March 2020, mandates a move toward cashless payment systems. Visitors to the eight lakes within the Nashville District will see these changes implemented at the beginning of the 2022 recreation season.

In preparation for the 2022 recreation season, the Nashville District installed 19 VenTek cashless pay machines across Lakes Barkley, Center Hill, Cheatham, Cordell Hull, Cumberland, Dale Hollow, J. Percy Priest, and Old Hickory. The VenTek automation service is designed to help parks and recreational areas collect admission fees and issue passes without manning a tollbooth.

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