Riding with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is going to get a lot easier as the Authority moves forward with its plan to upgrade and streamline its fare collection system. The Authority recently awarded a contract to INIT, Innovations In Transportation, Inc., of Virginia. The project, which will take about 18 months to complete, will give passengers new ways to pay for bus fares , including online accounts, reusable “smart” cards, mobile apps, and the option of purchasing fare products at many more retail locations throughout the state. The project has been in the planning stages since last year and RIPTA announced in the spring that it was seeking bids.
“RIPTA is excited to bring this innovative technology to our statewide transit system” said Amy Pettine, Interim CEO of RIPTA. “This update will not only make it easier for riders to manage their fares, but RIPTA will become more accessible for all users, from our daily commuters to weekend visitors,” Pettine said. “Fare products will be available at the touch of a fingertip.”
Some of the new ways that passengers will be able to pay for bus fares will include mobile phone apps and reloadable smart cards. The cards will be similar to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s CharlieCard system, with the added benefit of passengers being able to manage their accounts online – adding value to their cards as they need it.
The project involves installing computerized validators on existing fareboxes, and the new fare payment options will be available on all of RIPTA’s fixed route buses, Flex vans and RIde paratransit vehicles. The project also calls for prepaid RIPTA fare products to be available at up to 400 retail locations across the state.
“By installing new fare validators on all of our vehicles, it will speed up boarding times as customers will just tap and go — cutting back on the time people have to spend counting coins and bills,” said Greg Nordin, RIPTA’s Director of Planning. “This investment will not only make RIPTA a more efficient system, it will be a more accessible system, with opportunities to connect to other transportation providers. Our goal is to promote seamless travel around our state and region.”
Based in Chesapeake, Virginia, INIT is the worldwide leading supplier of integrated ITS and fare collection systems for buses and trains. For more than 30 years, INIT has been assisting transit companies in making public transport more attractive, faster and more efficient.
“INIT is very excited to partner with RIPTA for the launch of their new fare system upgrade”, stated Jordan Medlin, INIT project manager. ““We are anticipating considerable enhancements for passengers using RIPTA’s public transit services within the state of Rhode Island.”
RIPTA officials noted that public education about the new fare payment options will be a key part of the project.
For more information on RIPTA’s programs and services, visit RIPTA.com or call 401-781-9400.