Strathcona County transit is due for a fancy digital upgrade.
 
Garry Googins with LTK Consulting, based out of Seattle, gave a project update at the Strathcona County committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday (Feb.13).
 
The county partnered with Edmonton and St. Albert to be able to implement this smart fare system.
 
“The total project cost for all three regions to be doing this is $51.6 million, and each municipality is responsible for a portion of it based on the size of our systems,” said Strathcona County director of transit, Wade Coombs.
 
An electronic fare system will allow riders to use various types of electronics to pay for a bus pass, as they move away from a paper product system. The public will also be able to purchase transit cards at various kiosks and use a debit card, credit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay or a smart phone.
 
“This technology is leading edge, and provides us the ability to look at fares where you pay based on the distance versus just the set fares,” noted Coombs.
 
The upgrade will also allow riders to pay-as-you-go. Instead of putting out all the money up front for a monthly pass, they can pay per trip until they reach the threshold for the month.
 
The county has a vendor working on a design of the system, which will be completed this fall.
 
“The background technology for this system is called Smart Bus, which Edmonton already has on all of their fleet, and we’ll be putting it on our fleet by the end of this year,” said Coombs.
 
Coombs said a lot of work is going on in the background and the pilot program will roll out next year, but the smart fare system won’t be fully implemented until 2020.

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