Regional Transit Service plans to launch its new RTS Go contactless fare payment system in Monroe County on July 15, and will reinstate the collection of fares across the eight-county region it serves at that time.
“While the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic spurred changes to ensure the safety of our employees and customers, what didn’t change is the role of public transit as a critical component of our infrastructure that connects people to jobs and essential destinations in our community,” RTS CEO Bill Carpenter said. “With phase three of the New York Forward reopening process underway, it is the right time to reinstate the collection of fares and implement our new fare payment system. The new system — RTS Go — offers new ways to manage and pay fares, and provides a new layer of safety on the bus for employees and customers through contactless fare payment.”
The RTS Go fare payment system is included in the Transit app, which is RTS’ new real-time trip planning app. The Transit app is available for download now, although the features of RTS Go will not be available until July 15. Additional changes going into effect that day include reinstating the boarding of the bus from the front door, fare media changes and the implementation of all-day reduced fares for seniors aged 65 and older, persons with disabilities and children ages 6-11.
RTS Go will offer contactless fare payment, adding a layer of safety on the bus for employees and customers as the organization supports the reopening of the community and the continued fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said. The contactless fare payment feature of RTS Go means that customers will tap their mobile phone or smartcard on the onboard validation unit when boarding the bus.
Another key benefit of RTS Go is fare capping, which means customers who use RTS Go will pay $1 per ride, but never more than $3 a day, or $56 a month, no matter how much they ride. The technology behind the system, which is delivered by Fare Payments-as-a-Service provider Masabi, will know when a customer has reached those limits and stop charging them for the rest of that day or month.
Customers who do not have a smartphone will be able to purchase an RTS Go reloadable smartcard from ticket vending machines at the RTS Transit Center or online at myRTS.com. Customers will be encouraged to register their accounts with customer service or on myRTS.com to help protect the money they put on their account in case their RTS Go cards are lost or stolen.
RTS will start collecting fares again for all RTS operations and implement a new policy for getting on and off 40- and 60- foot buses in Monroe County. Under the new policy, customers will board the bus from the front door and exit the bus from the rear door. Customers with mobility limitations will be able to exit the bus from the front door.
To keep employees and customers safe during the pandemic and promote the use of transit for essential trips, RTS switched to dial-a-ride service only in Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne and Wyoming counties. Beginning July 15, the agency will resume regular service for RTS Genesee, RTS Orleans and RTS Wyoming. Plans are being developed to resume regular service for RTS Livingston, RTS Ontario, RTS Seneca and RTS Wayne.
To ensure the continued safety of employees and customers, officials said RTS will continue its enhanced cleaning program for buses and facilities. RTS is providing employees with the personal protective equipment they need to safely carry out their duties and will help customers comply with face mask/covering requirements by providing masks at the RTS Transit Center, on RTS Access buses and buses in the regional counties it serves.
“We thank our customers for their support and encourage them to help us win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by wearing a face mask or face-covering in public, and practicing social distancing on the bus, at the RTS Transit Center and RTS bus stops,” added Carpenter.