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RDN Transit will phase out bus tickets by the end of the year

RDN Transit, B.C. Transit plan next steps in implementation of Umo fare payment system
Buses in the Regional District of Nanaimo area began accepting Umo fare payments last fall. (News Bulletin file photo)

Bus tickets will become obsolete for RDN Transit riders by the end of the year.

Modernized bus fare payment was introduced on Regional District of Nanaimo Transit buses last November with Umo tap cards and mobile phone app. At the RDN’s transit committee meeting Thursday, May 23, Tessa Stewart, manager of business development with B.C. Transit, said ticket payment will be phased out by the end of 2024. Cash will still be accepted.

With Umo, customers can add money to their card or purchase day or month passes. Money can be added to the cards at a vendor, online, through the app, or by calling Umo customer service.

The older fare options aren’t compatible with the new technology, according to Stewart, and bus passes will not be ordered for 2025. She said the 10-ticket option can’t be supported through the Umo system.

“If you maintain that 10-ticket product discount, it does create inequality between Umo and the non-Umo fares, as well there’s an inequality between conventional and custom transit as HandyDart does not currently have a discount,” she said. “So we’re looking to align all of the fare structures and ensure it’s simple in removing that product and that discount.”

B.C. Transit plans to expand payment options and hopes debit and credit cards will be usable by May 2025, according to Kyle Bowman, B.C. Transit manager of revenue programs. There are no current plans to add Apple Pay, however.

Since introduction of Umo, among the riders who use the system, 77 per cent use the phone app and 23 per cent use the tap card.

While the RDN was expected to fully transition to Umo by this coming October, the transit committee unanimously approved a recommendation asking B.C. Transit to delay to December. The RDN is conducting a bus fare review and could benefit from the extra time, indicated Lainy Stevenson, RDN superintendent of transit planning and scheduling.

The transition plan consists of notifying customers of the timeline for the fare payment changes, further communication on fare sales and options, continued communication including bus signage, and final notifications of the move to Umo.

RELATED: Tap-card, mobile app fare payment live on buses in Nanaimo

Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
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