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RIPTA Launches Wave – A New Smart Fare Collection System That Makes It Easier Than Ever Before To Use Transit

September 8, 2020

Passengers Will Be Able to Buy Passes Online and Store Value on Reloadable Smart Card or Mobile App for Easy Boarding 

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) today announced the launch of Wave – a new smart fare collection system that will make it easier than ever before to ride RIPTA. Under the new system, reloadable smart cards and a new mobile app will allow customers to use secure online accounts to purchase the passes they need at their convenience. Wave smart fare technology will also make boarding the bus easy and contactless – passengers just have to tap their Wave cards or scan their mobile apps on new validators that have been installed on all RIPTA buses.

“We are so excited to introduce Wave to our passengers and the public,” said Scott Avedisian, RIPTA’s Chief Executive Officer.  “This new system uses technology for the benefit and convenience of our customers.  It is a very flexible system that allows us to offer our passengers many options. This is about people being able to buy what they want, when they want, and being able to board a bus almost as soon as they’ve made their purchase. This project has been in the works for more than two years and we’d like to thank everyone who has worked on it – particularly the hundreds of passengers who volunteered to help us with pilot testing.”  

Passengers can obtain a Wave smart card directly from www.wave.ripta.com 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 new Wave website, and passengers can also watch this instructional video.

Customers who choose to create online accounts will be able to easily purchase fare products or simply add cash value to their Wave smart card or mobile app.  Although there are more benefits to having an online account, the new smart cards are available to people who do not want to sign up that way.Those passengers can request a Wave card, as well as add value to the card, by contacting RIPTA’s Customer Service Department at401-781-9400.  Soon, they will also have the option of adding value to their cards at a growing network of retail locations that will be announced shortly.

Many Advantages for Customers 
The new Wave system offers many advantages for customers, regardless of whether they choose to use the smart card or the mobile app:
·      No more lost fare products. If you lose your Wave card and you have an online account, 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. The Wave system 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 accounts to make sure they always have value on their cards or mobile apps.

Greg Nordin, RIPTA’s Chief of Strategic Advancement, noted that similar smart fare technologies are being used by more and more transit authorities in the country and are very popular because of the ease of use and options they provide customers. Nordin and Kevin Perry, a principal planner with RIPTA, oversaw the many details of the project – from software development to the installation of the validators on the buses. “We visited other transit authorities and examined data on these smart systems and it was clear that this would be a great investment for RIPTA and its passengers,” Nordin said.  “Making transit easier to use is key in keeping passengers and also attracting new customers.”

Avedisian said, “We care about the people we serve and we want to do everything we can to encourage more people to use the bus.  It is particularly important as we work as a state to combat climate change and we see how much public transportation helps reduce harmful emissions from single-occupancy vehicles.”

RIPTA’s primary partner has been INIT (Innovations In Transportation, Inc.) of Virginia.  INIT was awarded the contract for the project in 2018 following a public bid process.

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