- Lane Transit District (LTD) in Lane County, OR will transition to a touchless system for paying bus fares.
- Riders boarding LTD buses will be able to wave a smart pass or their smartphone in front of an electronic validation box to pay their fares. Cash will still be accepted for those who can't or choose not to use the touchless system.
- LTD's system could be in place by late summer.
Many cities are adding — or at least exploring — touchless transit fare payment systems and getting rid of older systems. Technology companies increasingly are stepping up with versions of these systems. Mastercard, Visa, Apple Pay and Google Pay are among the providers marketing touchless fare payment systems.
Allowing transit passengers to wave a smartphone or smart pass for payment is more convenient than earlier swipe or tap methods, and helps move customers through turnstiles more quickly. The speed benefits not just customers, but also transit agencies because it alleviates back-ups, especially during rush hour.
LTD's touchless fare system is different than many others because it's for buses, whereas most other U.S. cities have been focusing their touchless efforts on rail, even as bus systems are most widely used form of transportation across the country. At a time when ridership has dipped, upgrading transit systems to be more convenient and appealing could help retain existing customers or draw in new ones.
Some cities are eager to convert their fare payment systems to touchless, while others such as Washington, DC, are first laying out fare modernization plans and doing the conversion in phases. Having a well laid-out plan in advance could prevent some of the pitfalls of touchless systems, such as excluding citizens who don't have smart phones or credit cards.