Fare Payment – Progress!

Fare Payment – Progress!

Halifax Transit has some welcome information about their upcoming mobile fare payment app (HFXGO). There’s still no firm date, but the webpage says fall 2023. While this is good, we’ve already outlined exactly how emarassing this roll-out has been. Remember, this was originally promised for 2017!

So we’re a bit skeptical, to say the least. Even if this launches next month, this has been a disastrous failure. There’s still work to be done and still outstanding questions.

How long until the next phase?
The next phase of the project is to install ticket validators on buses. This would allow additional electronic fare options, including open payment and tap cards. We’ve heard nine months and hope that is still the case.

Is there a tap card coming? If not, why? Update: Yes
We made a mistake in our first post as we were unsure if a tap card is coming. We also suggested most tap cards are free, but many systems require a refundable deposit. Sorry for both miskates.

Tap cards are on the way and this report clearly lays that out. Halifax Transit recommended the following phased approach:

  1. A mobile application utilizing visual validation;
  2. Onboard validators for use with the mobile application;
  3. Plastic, reloadable smart cards; and
  4. Open payment (debit/credit tap-to-pay).

A tap card is a great tool, especially for those who don’t have a phone or bank cards. A tap card provides greater accessibility. If you lack bank cards or a smartphone, a tap card still provides convenient options.

Will there be all-door boarding?
All-door boarding is just what is sounds like – riders can get on at any door. The benefits are huge – riders get on quicker and the buses speed up. On busy routes – like the 1, 4, and 9 – lots of time is wasted just getting riders on the bus! All-door boarding cuts travel time, reduces lateness, and lowers operating costs. Win-win-win.

With ticket validators at each door, all-door boarding becomes an easy option. Yes, there would need to be some policy changes and probably fare inspectors. But the benefits are monstrous – faster buses, less crowding, less stress for drivers. Not moving towards all-door boarding would be a missed opportunity.

Will fares be capped?
Many transit agencies cap fares automatically. For example, if you ride a lot in one day when your fares reach the price of a day pass, you’ve bought the day pass! Same thing with other passes, like monthly passes. This is fair and especially helfpul for people on lower incomes. Instead of having to save for a monthly pass in one lump sum, you can pay-as-you go until spending the equivalent of the pass.

So here we are on the verge of a new payment option. That’s great. But there are more phases. Let’s hope this rolls out smoothly. As always, we’re asking you to help us push for better transit. Make your voice heard. Fare payment is not finished. Let’s make sure we move towards the best options to improve transit, including all-door boarding and capped fares. As always, you can help by sharing our material, providing your transit feedback, and contacting your Councillor or the Mayor.

An electronic fare payment card for transit, which is now a standard feature in transit systems of all sizes.