BC Transit pitched the possibility of an electronic onboard fare collection system to Quesnel City Council on Tuesday night.
It was part of an overall transit update.
Ryan Dennis, the Program Manager for the new technology, said it would allow customers to use their smart phone or credit card
“So that’s where customers will be able to download the app, create an account, load the payment source into their account and then purchase fare products, and have those activated and validated on the bus.”
Dennis says this technology would not replace cash, but it would give the customer more options.
He said the onboard validators would also be able to accept credit card tap payments.
It will be piloted on systems that already have existing onboard fare collection technology, which the Quesnel Transit System does not, so it could still be a few years away.
The cost is estimated, at this point, to be around 30 thousand dollars, although a more detailed report will be coming back to Council within the next month or so.
Dennis believes that the new technology will increase ridership.
“Absolutely, at the end of the day I think that is really what we’re hoping. We’re looking to remove barriers and increase convenience for our riders so they chose transit more readily and more frequently.”
On the topic of ridership, while the province is down about 44 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Quesnel was down only 34 percent.
Lindsay Taylor is the Manager of Government Relations for BC Transit.
“That’s a good news story because to me that means that we have a solid customer base that really depends on the transit system to be able to get to work, get to medical trips and to be able to go shopping and what not, so there is a core group of riders there.”
The Quesnel Transit System consists of three local routes, West Quesnel, Red Bluff, and North Fraser Drive, as well as regional routes to Wells and Nazko, and HandyDart.
It started back in 1982.