New contactless tap payment options will be coming to BC Transit as part of an electronic fare collection system that will be rolled out in 2022.
BC Transit says that the new innovative system will introduce new tap payment methods including by mobile app, debit card, credit card, mobile wallet, and reloadable smart card.
The new system will also have a new stored value feature, which will provide riders using the mobile app and reloadable smart card to load a stored value balance to their account that can be drawn from every time they ride.
The total cost for the project is $23,200,000, BC Transit said in a news release Wednesday.
“We absolutely have to replace our existing fare technology, it is very old and it’s very difficult to maintain,” says Christy Ridout, the vice president of business development with BC Transit.
BC Transit believes the new system will increase access to transit by allowing riders to use items they carry every day and removing barriers like requiring them to pre-purchase tickets and passes or carry exact change.
Tap systems will be installed on buses and riders will be able to scan their mobile device or tap their card for payment.
Customers may also purchase desired fare products through their mobile device, through a new web portal or at select retailers as well.
BC Transit outlines that cash will continue to be accepted for those riders who prefer to use it.
“Modernization initiatives like this are important as we look to rebuild ridership to pre-pandemic levels and grow our public transportation system in the years to come,” says Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure in B.C.
“With the use of cash in sharp decline everywhere, efficient and convenient electronic fare payment options are the way of the future.”
The new system will allow for interregional travel, enabling riders to travel across the province with one payment method, adds BC Transit.
Other benefits of the new system includes improved cleanliness with reduced farebox touchpoints and reducing the demand on transit operators to visually validate fare products aboard the bus.
According to BC Transit, the new system will be implemented in two phases: initially enabling mobile app and reloadable smart card payment methods before allowing payment by credit card, debit card, and mobile wallets.
The new electronic system being added to transit buses will be operated by the platform Umo. Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc., which runs Umo, has entered into an agreement with BC Transit and will bring their experience supporting fare collection to the project. Cubic is the long-time vendor for TransLink’s Compass Card network, used in Metro Vancouver.
“We are excited to be sharing news of the transformational electronic fare collection system project that will make selecting transit as your mode of choice more convenient and accessible,” said Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit President and Chief Executive Officer.
“The innovative payment methods that will be enabled by the system are items that British Columbians carry on them every day,” Pinkerton says. “Whether someone is a daily rider, occasional rider, or haven’t taken their first trip yet, Umo will make their trip easier.”
The Victoria Regional Transit System has been selected for the system’s pilot project and first transit system implementation and can expect to see the system come on board by fall 2022.
The Electronic Fare Collection System Project is funded through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. This project is being cost-shared with the Government of Canada contributing 50 per cent of eligible costs, the Province of British Columbia contributing 40 per cent, and the project’s local government partners contributing the remaining 10 per cent.
Other transit systems and interregional routes scheduled for system implementation include:
- Campbell River
- Central Fraser Valley
- Comox Valley Regional
- Cowichan Valley Regional
- Cowichan Valley Commuter
- Dawson Creek
- Fort St. John
- Fraser Valley Express
- Hope Regional
- Kelowna Regional
- North Okanagan Connector
- Pemberton Valley
- Port Alberni Regional
- Port Edward
- Powell River Regional
- Prince George
- Prince Rupert
- Regional District of Nanaimo
- Skeena Regional
- South Okanagan Connector
- South Okanagan-Similkameen
- Sunshine Coast
- Terrace Regional
- Vernon Regional
- West Kootenay.