Welcome to 2022!
BC Transit has announced they are moving forward in their plans to implement an electronic fare collection system in buses across the province, and Victoria will be the first region it will be implemented in!
The new system, represented by the system Umo, will introduce contactless tap payment methods to improve the transit experience.
Payment methods will include mobile app, debit card, credit card, mobile wallet and reloadable smart card.
The new, contactless payment methods will increase access to transit by allowing riders to use items that they carry everyday, remove the need to pre-purchase tickets or carry exact change.
The change will also improve onboard cleanliness, a large focus during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Innovation is key to improving the user experience across public transit systems,” said Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.
“BC Transit’s Electronic Fare Collection System will allow a more flexible, efficient and secure means of payment that increases user convenience and ridership throughout British Columbia. Our Government is proud to contribute $13.4 million to this interregional transit project.”
Riders using the mobile app and reloadable smart card will be able to load a stored value balance to their account and purchase their fare directly from it. Riders will also be able to scan their mobile device or tap their card on board the bus to purchase fare.
Cash will continue to be accepted onboard BC Transit buses.
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 project will begin with the mobile app and reloadable smart card payment methods being enabled, prior to payment by credit card, debit card, and mobile wallets being accepted on board.
Once the pilot project has completed, it will then be implemented in other regions across the province.
“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,” said Rob Fleming, Minister for Transportation and Infrastructure.
“With the use of cash in sharp decline everywhere, efficient and convenient electronic fare payment options are the way of the future.”
The Electronic Fare Collection System 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.
In total, the project will cost $23,200,000.