PATCO almost ran out of fare cards. Blame the coronavirus outbreak

PATCO Freedom fare card
Photo credit Eric Walter/KYW Newsradio
CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — PATCO is running low on its supply of fare cards, and it's because of the coronavirus outbreak.

PATCO has only about 500 of its Freedom fare cards left. The speed line operator was supposed to get a shipment of 30,000 cards this week, but its vendor couldn't deliver, says Delaware River Port Authority CEO John Hanson.

"We ordered cards from Paragon ID in China. And as a result of the health issue — the coronavirus — the factory was shut down, and they’re not shipping. They’re not making," Hanson said.

Paragon found 10,000 cards from an affiliate in the United Kingdom. Hanson used his emergency executive power to authorize spending $37,000 to buy and ship the cards to a factory in Vermont, where they'll be imprinted with the Freedom logo and shipped to the DRPA to be programmed.

"We believe that with the action that we’ve taken, the availability of Freedom cards will continue uninterrupted," Hanson said.

Those 10,000 cards should arrive at PATCO on Friday, and Hanson says they should meet the demand for about six months. He stressed that PATCO has not run out of cards, and the agency should not run out before the new supply arrives.