So what’s up with the no-change policy?
All fare boxes explicitly state the amount required for certain fares and that no change is given, C-Tran spokeswoman Christine Selk said in an email.
But what if the passenger only has a $20 bill? Or worse, a $100 bill?
If an overage is considered substantial — say, $5 or more over the posted fare — a passenger can request a receipt from the bus driver, said Selk. That receipt can be presented at the C-Tran offices for a reimbursement, she said.
For smaller amounts, passengers are out of luck.
“Any cash that goes into our fare boxes is considered revenue and goes back into our system to pay for fuel, tires, utilities, salaries,” Selk said. “Anything revenue pays for at a transit agency.”
According to data provided by C-Tran, it collected $21,884 in revenue from overpayments between May and October 2018. Its total revenue for fixed route fares over the same six months was about $3 million.
An easy way to avoid overpayment, Selk suggested, is using the Hop Fastpass, which is, simply put, a reusable card. Riders only pay for trips they actually take.
“Instead of buying passes in advance, you earn them as you go; therefore, you get the savings of a pass without the up-front cost.”
C-Tran is part of a regional fare system with TriMet and the Portland Streetcar. Using the reloadable card, passengers can transfer among the nearby bus systems, though the fares vary, with service in Clark County being cheaper.