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BC Transit announces reloadable fare cards, contactless payment

The system will be first launched in Victoria by fall 2022 and then to most of the province, including the Thompson-Okanagan

BC Transit is modernizing its fare payment system for passengers, announcing plans to roll out reloadable smartcards and contactless payment.

The forthcoming “Umo” system will replace end-of-life technology and equipment by introducing new payment methods such as a mobile app, credit/debit cards, mobile wallet and smartcards.

The system will allow riders to pay for transit using items they already carry everyday and eliminate the need to pre-purchase tickets or carry exact change. Cash will still be accepted.

“Whether someone is a daily rider, occasional rider, or haven’t taken their first trip yet, Umo will make their trip easier,” said Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit president and chief executive officer.

The new system will also improve cleanliness by reducing farebox touchpoints and enable seamless interregional transit by allowing riders to travel across the province with one payment method.

Bus drivers will also have to spend less time checking passes and confirming fares.

The new system will be implemented in transit systems and interregional routes in two phases, initially enabling mobile app and reloadable smart card payment methods before payment by credit card, debit card, and mobile wallets will be enabled.

The system will be first launched in Victoria by fall 2022 before then expanding to most of the province, including the Thompson-Okanagan.

The $23 million system is being provided by Cubic Transportation Systems, which is the long-time vendor of Translink’s Compass Card in the Lower Mainland.

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