Contactless payments rolled out on Santa Barbara buses

Posted: 27 July 2021 | | No comments yet

Contactless payment capability has been rolled out on certain Santa Barbara bus services for the first time this week, with Clean Air Express users receiving a discount for using contactless to pay.

contactless payment

Travellers on select Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) buses will be able to pay for their trips using a contactless card for the first time, after a new fare system was introduced on Monday 26 July.

The innovative fare payment system is being made available as part of a six-month demonstration with the California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP), an initiative of the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to simplify travel by increasing access to public transit—including easier, faster payments via contactless credit/debit/prepaid cards and mobile wallets on smart devices.

The contactless payment system for Santa Barbara MTD and Clean Air Express is the first to be introduced among public transit providers in the Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo tri-county region and one of the first three systems to be deployed statewide. The tap-to-ride system uses fare payment technology provided by partners Littlepay, Kuba, Cybersource, and Elavon.

“Older fare collection systems create unnecessary barriers for people to ride and choose transit,” said Marjie Kirn, executive director of SBCAG, which operates the Clean Air Express.

“With the new contactless payment system, customers can now pay their fare the same way they can buy a coffee or groceries by simply tapping a credit, debit card, or using a mobile wallet on a smart phone or watch with no registration or account setup needed.”

In addition to Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards with tap-to-pay capabilities, mobile payments options include Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Fitbit Pay.

“We are excited to introduce this convenient payment option for our riders,” said Jerry Estrada, general manager of Santa Barbara MTD. “We’re piloting this technology on ten of our buses, serving Lines 12x and 24x. This means you’ll be able to get to University of California, Santa Barbara, Downtown Santa Barbara, Camino Real Marketplace, and Old Town Goleta with a simple tap of a card or device.”

MTD says Clean Air Express customers using the contactless payment system will be charged $6, a $1 discount from the standard $7 one-way cash fare. Existing Clean Air Express multi-ride fare discounts will be honoured with the new system, with riders automatically not being charged more than $10 per day — or $150 over 30 days — when using the same payment card or device.