BC Transit launches Umo tap payments in Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley

BC Transit launches Umo tap payments in Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley
BC Transit/YouTube
A Umo digital validator is pictured on a Victoria bus.

Tap payments are now online aboard BC Transit buses in Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley with the launch of the new Umo system Thursday.

Umo, which launched in the Victoria Regional Transit system in August, lets commuters pay by tapping a reloadable Umo card, or by downloading the free Umo app on their phones.

People who want the use the Umo app can use their phone to scan QR codes onboard buses, which will pay for their fare, and the app also has tools to help plan trips or track bus locations.

The reloadable Umo cards can be picked up for free from a BC Transit Umo vendor. A list of Umo vendors in Nanaimo and in the Cowichan Valley can be found on their respective BC Transit webpages. The reloadable Umo cards can be topped up through vendors, online on the Umo website, or by calling Umo customer service at 877-380-8181.

To use the cards, riders can simply tap the Umo card on the onboard bus validators to pay.

“The Government of Canada is pleased to invest in important initiatives like Umo which will provide British Columbians with more flexible transit options and a more efficient overall experience,” said Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in a statement Thursday.

“This investment in a modern, reliable, and efficient public transport network contributes to economic activity, community development, and climate action.”

While the Umo service is online, BC Transit says it will continue to accept cash payments on buses.

BC Transit also plans to add tap payment with credit cards and debit cards in the future, though no firm timeline for that policy has been announced yet.

Future plans

The company plans to roll out Umo in dozens of transit systems across B.C.

The Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System, where Umo was just introduced, includes communities like Duncan, Cowichan Lake, Crofton and Ladysmith.

Umo, pronounced “You-mo” will launch in the following communities in this order:

Comox Valley Regional, Campbell River, Port Alberni Regional, Powell River Regional, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, Pemberton Valley, Central Fraser Valley, Chilliwack, Agassiz-Harrison, Hope Regional, Kamloops, Vernon Regional, Kelowna Regional, South Okanagan-Similkameen, West Kootenay, Cranbrook, Prince George, Quesnel, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Kitimat, Terrace Regional, Skeena Regional, Prince Rupert, Port Edward, Whistler

The Umo system cost $23.2 million to implement, according to BC Transit, with the federal government covering 50 per cent of costs, the B.C. government providing 40 per cent, and local government partners funding the remaining 10 per cent.

More details about how to use Umo can be found on the BC Transit website.

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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