Transit Agency Launches Contactless Payment System, Monterey County, CA, 2021
5 minutes Date Launched: May 11, 2021 Pilot Project Timeframe: 6 months
Credit: Monterey-Salinas Transit
Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) has partnered with the California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP) to add a contactless payment system for its customers for a six-month trial period. Anyone can pay for their bus fares by tapping their mobile wallet, like Apple Pay or Google Pay, or credit/debit card with contactless payment capabilities on a reader when entering and exiting the bus. Customers can still pay for their fares by cash or through MST’s proprietary GoCard and GoPasses. As the first transit agency in California to allow for contactless payments, MST is also instituting a fare capping policy; if customers use the same contactless card or mobile wallet, they will not pay more than $10 per day, $25 per week, and $95 per month.
Other cities like Chicago and Portland do allow for contactless payments in their transit systems but this trial, which incorporates fare capping, can lay the groundwork for a new paradigm in fare payment structures. Fare capping itself is a mechanism for achieving transit equity instead of having customers pay for an entire pass upfront. Contactless payment systems also can make peoples’ experience with transit more convenient, efficient, and user-friendly.