Transit Agency Launches Contactless Fare Payment System with Fare Capping, Omaha, NE 2021
5 minutes Date Launched: Oct 1, 2021
Credit: Transit Authority of the City of Omaha
The Transit Authority of the City of Omaha (Omaha Metro) is launching a new contactless fare payment system, called Umo, across its fleet. Umo is a product of Cubic. With Umo, customers can load money into a fare wallet through an app or online. Upon entering an Omaha Metro vehicle, customers can redeem their fares by tapping an Umo card or scanning an app-provided QR code at the new ticket readers. When a balance on an Umo account gets low, customers can enable their account wallet to automatically reload. Customers can get Umo cards at Omaha Metro’s office or ticket vending machines. Overtime, a network of local retailers will also sell Umo cards as well.
With an Umo account, fares for a single ride on any of Omaha Metros’ vehicles cost $1.25 plus $0.25 for transfers. Customers can still opt to pay via paper fare tickets and passes or cash on the systems’ legacy bus and paratransit system. On Omaha Metro’s bus rapid transit fleet, ORBT, rides can only be paid through the Umo system. ORBT began operations in November 2020 and has been fare-free as a promotion until this time. Through Umo, customers will also benefit from a monthly fare capping system; standard-fare riders will not pay more than $55 in a given month. This $55 threshold amounts to the same cost of a 30-day pass.
This new account-based system is designed to make Omaha Metro more user friendly. Through incorporating fare capping, customers can maximize their use of the transit systems’ offerings without worrying about paying for a pass upfront. Fare capping makes payment options for transit customers more convenient and equitable. Overtime, it will be important to determine if Umo improves peoples’ ridership experiences and if ridership increases.