Edmonton Transit Moves Closer on Adopting Smart Fare

Edmonton transit has picked a preferred operator to start work on a new fare system — meaning city bus riders are one step closer to electronic fare payment.

Ken Koropeski, director of special projects with Edmonton transit, said Monday that officials aim to select Vix Technologies to implement and operate the new electronic system.

An electronic pay system, also known as Smart Fare, would let transit users pay for rides using tap-technology with their credit or debit cards. They could also get a special transit card that would be reloadable.

“All they need is one card to travel through the entire system. It makes it a lot easier for customers,” Koropeski said. “How fares are calculated and how revenue is allocated among the city and surrounding municipalities is worked out in the back-end.”

He said Vix has implemented a similar system in Utah and is working on one in Dallas that would be similar to Edmonton’s.

“Vix ended up with the system that best matched our needs,” he said.

Koropeski explained Edmonton is set to roll out a pilot project in 2019, with full implementation a year later.

“We want to do it right the first time,” he said, noting Calgary struggled to launch an electronic payment system and ultimately had to pull the plans.

The new system also opens the door to discuss a distance-based fare model, he added, where users could pay more for traveling further or pay less for taking shorter trips.

“It’s (the electronic payment system) is a big change, so we don’t plan to make huge changes to right off the bat,” he said, referring to the distance-based model. “But that flexibility will now be there.”

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