RIPTA Announces End of Paper Products as it Continues Transition to Latest Smart Fare Technology

December 20, 2021

Press Releases

Exact Change Cash Payments Will Still be Accepted on Buses

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) announced today that starting  January 15, 2022, paper fare products will no longer be accepted on buses.   These products include day passes, seven-day passes, and 10-ride passes.  RIPTA officials stressed that passengers will not lose any monetary value since they can exchange paper products – no matter how old – for equal value on RIPTA’s smart fare collection system called Wave. Launched in September 2020, the Wave system gives passengers the option of paying their bus fare with either a reloadable smart card or a new mobile app and is already being used by 40,000 RIPTA passengers.  

Also, as of January 15, 2022, RIPTA will no longer be issuing transfers on buses and all trips will be exact change only.  Cash payments will still be accepted on buses, but no change cards will be issued if it is not exact payment.

“These are some of the final changes as we move RIPTA to a 21st century fare collection system which has so many conveniences and benefits for our customers,” said Greg Nordin, RIPTA’s Chief of Strategic Advancement.  “With our Wave system, our passengers can purchase just what they need, when they need it, and board our buses in a safe and contactless manner, using their Wave card or the mobile app.”

Nordin explained that with Wave, the base $2 fare includes one hour of unlimited travel on all RIPTA routes, so passengers can transfer between routes during that time. He also noted that the mechanical units on the bus that printed out transfers and change cards have begun to reach the end of their useful life expectancy, increasingly causing roadside service calls and route delays. 

“Eliminating the need to print transfers and change cards will help our system run more efficiently, “Nordin said.  “And again, the ease and flexibility of Wave will help make it easy for passengers to transition to exact change without the need for paper transfers.”

Wave Exchange

RIPTA is making it easy for passengers to trade in any old paper fare products that may have.  They simply have to create a Wave account, fill out a form and then mail their old products to RIPTA.  Once the product fare value is verified, the value is then transferred to a Wave account. Detailed instructions are available at

“We are excited about these latest changes and we appreciate the cooperation of our customers,” said Scott Avedisian, RIPTA’s Chief Executive Officer.   “I think people will quickly see the benefits of the new streamlined system and know that we are offering our passengers the best industry technology to make transit use in Rhode Island as easy as possible.”

Wave Advantages for Customers

The new Wave smart fare system offers many advantages for customers, regardless of whether they choose to use the plastic smart card or the mobile app.  Below are some of the highlights:

· No more lost fare products. If you lose your registered Wave smart card, you can simply go online, cancel the lost card and transfer the balance to your replacement card.

· No more searching for cash to board the bus if you didn’t buy a pass ahead of time.  The value you add to your account is available on your card or mobile app instantly. 

· Get credit for the trips you take with the “Earn As You Go” feature. Wave keeps track of your trips so you never have to pay more than you need to.  Once you spend $6 in a single day – the price of a Day Pass – you have earned the pass and will be not charged again that day no matter how many times you ride.  The same is true for RIPTA’s Monthly Pass which costs $70.  Once a passenger spends that amount in a calendar month, they are not charged for any rides for the rest of that month.

· Always be ready to ride. Passengers can use the auto reload feature on their account to make sure they always have value on their card or mobile app.

RIde Program

RIde will continue to accept paper tickets.

Passengers can obtain a Wave smart card directly from or they can choose to download the new Wave app, which is available for both Android and Apple mobile devices.  All of the details are on the Wave website, and passengers can watch this instructional video. They can also contact RIPTA Customer Service at 401-784-9500 x2012 for more information.

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