Bus riders in Greater Victoria will see electronic fare systems start to roll out over the coming weeks in a test of Umo’s contactless pay platform.
The pilot program in the Victoria Regional Transit System will come before the tap-and-go fare systems are fully implemented later in the spring.
BC Transit says Umo (pronounced you-mo) will replace the current technology and equipment that’s at the end of its life. Riders will be able to use their mobile app, reloadable cards, debit or credit cards and mobile wallets to pay for their fare.
“These new payment methods will increase access to transit by removing barriers such as requiring riders to continually pre-purchase tickets and passes or carry exact change,” BC Transit said in a news release.
The new payment options will be implemented in two phases, with the Umo app and reloadable Umo cards coming first before the other types can be used. Riders will also still be able to pay with cash.
The launch of Umo – only for BC Transit employees initially before expanding to the wider ridership – will see monthly passes eventually be scrapped in exchange for 30-day passes. That change aims to keep the convenience of a long-term unlimited fare, but looks to give riders more flexibility since they will no longer have to wait until the start of a calendar month.
Riders can also load cash on their account and use that balance to pay for trips. Purchasing the 30-day passes and loading cash can be done on a mobile device, through a web portal and at a retailer. Riders then board the bus by tapping their Umo app or their reloadable card.
The new systems will also expand the ways users get a DayPASS, which offers unlimited day travel for $5 in Greater Victoria. Riders using the Umo app or reloadable card will have their fare capped and automatically converted to a DayPASS once they tap or scan while boarding their second trip of the day.
“A rider will never pay more than two times the value of a cash fare for unlimited daily travel,” the release said.
After the Greater Victoria pilot, BC Transit will start implementing Umo in 30 transit systems and five interregional routes across B.C.
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