Smart Fare will allow riders to pay for transit using a variety of methods. ETS and partner transit providers in the Edmonton region are exploring technology that would allow for fare payment using credit cards, debit cards, smart phones or watches and other cards with compatible with the system.
Transit customers could set up an “account”, which would allow them to purchase or be eligible for a variety of fare products such as day passes, multi-ride packages, monthly passes and other transit fare products. Then, riders would simply tap their Smart Fare card at the reader as they board or use the other payment methods accepted. ETS riders would still be able to use cash in the fare box.
Smart Fare vs. Smart Card
ETS and regional partners are exploring a Smart Fare, rather than a Smart Card, system. Smart Fare technology is very similar to the way you use a bank card with your bank. It uses an account-based set-up, meaning the account credit stays online. If riders lose their Smart Fare card, they can replace it without losing their account credit or fare purchase. Loading the Smart Fare account is instant. Once riders add credit, they can use it right away.
Smart Card technology is slightly older and has the credit linked to the specific card – much like a coffee or gift card. If someone was to lose a Smart Card, they would lose the credit on that card as well.
Smart Fare Project Overview
The Regional Smart Fare/Smart Bus project will see an electronic fare payment system implemented for Edmonton, St. Albert and Strathcona County Transit systems. The project also includes adding Smart Bus infrastructure for St. Albert and Strathcona County, which is needed to support Smart Fare.
In 2015, the Province approved GreenTRIP funding for this regional initiative, which will improve convenience for customers traveling using transit service in the Capital Region. Project timelines will be established once the Smart Fare system vendor has been selected and a detailed project plan is prepared.
Smart Fare Progress Report – Spring 2016
Significant progress has been made in the areas of project management, procurement and development of supporting infrastructure and systems. Project Management - LTK Engineering Services has been retained as the overall program manager for this project. LTK are experienced in Smart Fare implementations and have strong knowledge of the industry.
Procurement: Work has proceeded on the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Regional Smart Fare System, with release of the RFP planned for June 2016. In advance of this, a Request for Comments (RFC) was released, requesting feedback from the vendor community on the draft RFP.
The Regional Smart Fare project is complex and involves many regional transit partners. The City of Edmonton, along with its partners, recognize the importance of extreme due diligence, which is why an RFC was issued ahead of the RFP.
Regional Smart Bus preparations: Edmonton, St. Albert and Strathcona County staff are proceeding with work required to implement Smart Bus technology on buses across the region.