As part of its ongoing efforts to provide better service to OC Bus riders, OCTA has chosen a contractor to develop and implement a more innovative and equitable rider validation system for the OC Bus system, offering passengers more convenience and easier access to discounted fares.
The decision to contract with INIT Innovations in Transportation, Inc. follows a rigorous evaluation process that began in February, with the goal of enhancing the passenger experience, optimizing the fare payment process and ensuring flexibility to accommodate evolving technology.
The rider validation system will improve the way passengers pay to ride the bus by introducing smart cards embedded with chips. The smart cards will enable passengers to store fare value in a centralized account, allowing them to autoload payments and protect their balances.
Additionally, riders can choose to pay with cash or credit card through an expanded network of in-person retail sites, enhancing convenience and accessibility for all riders.
Another important feature of the new system will be fare capping, which charges riders as they travel and caps the total fare amount for daily and monthly periods. This eliminates the need for passengers to pay full cost for monthly passes in advance and makes fare collection more equitable while simplifying the fare structure. For many riders, paying for a pass upfront can be prohibitive and may prevent them from using the bus system.
The implementation of the new rider validation system, expected to be in place by 2025, will significantly reduce the reliance on onboard cash payments, leading to cost savings associated with cash collection. The removal of magnetic-stripe components from fareboxes will reduce equipment maintenance costs and expedite bus boardings, improving efficiency.