BC Transit announced on Monday, March 13th that Victoria regional buses will soon be testing a new pitot project so commuters can tap their mobile devices, debit or credit cards as payment rather than carrying cash.
The pilot project is utilizing an electronic fare collection system called Umo on select buses in Greater Victoria. The payment devices will be installed in the coming weeks, according to BC Transit.
All Victoria buses will be outfitted with payment collection devices once testing is complete. BC Transit says they hope for full implementation by this spring.
“Umo will replace BC Transit’s end-of-life technology and equipment, and introduce contactless payment methods that will improve the transit experience,” reads a media release by BC Transit.
“New payment methods will include mobile app, reloadable card, debit card, credit card, and mobile wallet, providing riders with the ability to pick the best payment method for their lifestyle and travel habits.”
— BC Transit (@BCTransit) March 13, 2023
The goal of this system is to increase access to bus commuting by removing the barriers of only accepting cash in an increasingly plastic world.
The rollout of Umo will happen in two phases; first commuters will be able to use the system via the app and reloadable payment cards, the next phase will roll out the ability to pay with credit, debit or mobile wallet.
Along with Umo, in the coming weeks, BC Transit will be introducing a 30-day pass, which will replace the monthly pass it currently offers. The hope is that this will increase access by allowing customers to buy a pass that works for 30 days from the date of purchase rather than the beginning of the month.
Fees may be changed for the 30-day pass compared to what the monthly pass costs currently, which is $85.
Cash balance is the second new initiative by BC Transit and Umo. Through Umo’s app or the new Umo web portal, bus riders will be able to load up their cash balance from their bank account. This cash balance can then be used to ride any Victoria Regional Transit System bus by tapping your mobile device or a Umo reloadable card.
Another benefit of Umo is that a bus commuter will never pay more than $5 per day. The system will automatically know when a rider has paid what is equal to a DayPASS fare from BC Transit which will remain capped at $5.
Single trips will still only cost $2.50, so when a rider pays two times, they will automatically be upgraded to a DayPASS and can continue to tap their card or app without additional charges.