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Electronic bus fare system to launch in September

Riders can use contactless payment by tapping a reloadable card when boarding.
Riders prepare to board a bus at Thunder Bay Transit's Water Street Terminal (TBnewswatch file)

THUNDER BAY — The rollout of a new electronic fare collection system for Thunder Bay Transit will happen this autumn.

The $2.3 million payment system – approved by city council last year – will allow riders the option of using contactless payment by tapping a reloadable card when boarding a bus.

It was initially expected to be ready by late spring.

The "go-live" date was later changed to August, but is now projected to be sometime in mid-September.

Transit is currently putting the finishing touches on a marketing and public communications campaign that will run over the course of the summer.

The system will be installed across the entire fleet.

Transit manager Brad Loroff has said it will provide several benefits, not just convenience for users, but also possibilities for discount incentives and more efficient boarding.

The system will allow riders to load funds into an account online or in person at selected stores and municipal offices.

Users will then be able to tap a smart card – similar to a debit or credit card – or use a mobile app on their cell phone when boarding.

Loroff explained last year how the system facilitates flexible payment options and incentives such as "fare capping."

He said: "Rather than having to [pay] for a monthly pass of say $80 . . . this system will allow us to move into a space where you pay as you go, and once you reach the value of that monthly pass amount, then your trips are free."

Limited-use pre-loaded cards will also be available.

The system is capable of accepting contactless debit or credit payment as well, if the city decides to implement that option.

Thunder Bay Transit will still continue to accept cash payment from riders.

On Monday, transit fares in the city went up across the board by an average of 6.5 per cent.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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