BC Transit is rolling out a new electronic fare gathering system, and buses in Vernon, Kelowna and the North and South Okanagan Connectors are included in the program. (Black Press file photo)

BC Transit is rolling out a new electronic fare gathering system, and buses in Vernon, Kelowna and the North and South Okanagan Connectors are included in the program. (Black Press file photo)

BC Transit stepping on board with electronic fare collection

Vernon, Kelowna, North and South Okanagan buses included in program

Vernon and Kelowna transit riders, and those using the North and South Okanagan connectors, will get to know Umo.

BC Transit is moving forward in implementing an electronic fare collection system across the province.

The innovative new system, Umo (pronounced YOU-mo) will replace end of life technology and equipment, and introduce contactless tap payment methods that will improve the transit experience. New payment methods will include mobile app, debit card, credit card, mobile wallet and reloadable smart card, providing riders with the ability to pick the best payment method for their lifestyle and travel habits.

“We are excited to be sharing news of the transformational electronic fare collection system project that will make selecting transit as your mode of choice more convenient and accessible,” said Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit president and CEO. “Whether someone is a daily rider, occasional rider, or haven’t taken their first trip yet, Umo will make their trip easier.”

The new contactless payment methods will increase access to transit by allowing riders to use items they carry every day, removing barriers like requiring them to pre-purchase tickets and passes or carry exact change.

The coming system also introduces a new stored value feature, providing riders with further abilities to select the best option for their travel needs.

Riders using the mobile app and reloadable smart card will be able to load a stored value balance to their account to be drawn from as they ride, in addition to being able to purchase any of the existing fare products. Riders will be able to easily purchase their desired fare product with their mobile device, through a new web portal, or at a retailer, and board the bus by simply scanning their mobile device or tapping their card.

Cash will continue to be accepted for those riders who prefer to use it, but it is expected most riders will find one of the new payment methods a more convenient option.

The new system will be implemented in transit systems and interregional routes in two phases, initially enabling mobile app and reloadable smart card payment methods before payment by credit card, debit card and mobile wallets will be enabled.

The Victoria Regional Transit System has been selected for the system’s pilot project and first transit system implementation and can expect to see the system come on board by fall 2022.

Other transit systems and interregional routes scheduled for system implementation include Vernon, Kelowna and the North and South Okanagan Connectors, along with 31 other provincial systems.

For more information on this project, please visit bctransit.com/umo.

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BC Transit