Littlepay helps California buses go contactless

Littlepay is also enabling tap to ride in the Portuguese city of Porto
Mobility as a Service / August 5, 2021
By Ben Spencer
Littlepay contactless payments tap to ride Kuba Santa Barbara County Association of Governments Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District
Tap to ride system on Clean Air Express will replicate the existing pricing model (image credit: Littlepay)

Littlepay has joined forces with ticketing technology specialist Kuba to facilitate contactless fare payment demonstrations on two bus routes in Santa Barbara, California. 

Kuba’s system provides cEMV card validation and enables secure contactless payments to be processed during the demonstrations. Littlepay offers transit payment processing, including tap aggregation, fare capping, deny list management and automatic debt recovery. 

The demonstrations are taking place on the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments’ (SBCAG) commuter bus service Clean Air Express and the 12X (Goleta Express) and 24X (UCSB Express) bus routes operated by the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (SBMTD). 

Clean Air Express serves residents of Lompoc, Santa Maria, Buellton, Solvang, and adjacent areas who use the buses daily to get to work in Goleta and Santa Barbara.

The tap to ride system will replicate the existing pricing model, which charges $7 for one-way fares, $50 for ten discounted rides and $150 for a monthly pass. 

It will also offer a $1 one-way fare discount to riders who pay via contactless debit/credit card or mobile wallet. These users will pay $6 for each one-way journey until a $10 daily cap or a $150 30-day cap is triggered, after which no further payment will be charged within the capping period.

Marjie Kirn, executive director of SBCAG, says: “Older fare collection systems create unnecessary barriers for people to ride and choose public transit. With the new contactless payment system, customers can now pay their fare in the same way they can buy a coffee or groceries by simply tapping a credit or debit card, or using a mobile wallet on a smartphone or watch, with no registration or account set up needed.”

Passengers on the SBMTD 12X and 24X routes who tap to ride will pay a $1.75 flat fare for single journeys, with an automatic daily fare cap of $6. A 30-day pass is also available with a cap of $52. 

As the roll out continues, the transit authority hopes to offer discounted fares for older adults, university staff and students.

Jerry Estrada, general manager of SBMTD, says: “We’re piloting this technology on ten of our buses, serving Lines 12x and 24x. This means you’ll be able to get to UC Santa Barbara, Downtown Santa Barbara, Camino Real Marketplace, and Old Town Goleta with a simple tap of a card or device.”

Meanwhile, in Portugal, Littlepay is introducing a contactless transit ticketing payment system that can be used on the Metro do Porto's Linha Violeta tube line that connects to the Porto International Airport. 

The system will also enable tap to ride on the STCP (Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto) Bus Line 500, which operates between Praça da Liberdade (Liberty Square) and the market in the municipality of Matosinhos.

Other partners involved in this project include Visa, Cybersource, Card4B and financial credit institution Unicre.

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