Regional Transportation Agency (RTA) of Central Maryland is rolling out several new features to improve equity and accessibility for its riders.
In addition to simplifying travel for RTA customers, mobile ticketing in the Transit app will provide another way for riders and operators to stay safe during the pandemic. Touch-free payment with visual validation in the app limits contact between drivers and riders while boarding, making it easy for riders to practice physical distancing.
"With so many RTA customers already using Transit to get real-time bus arrival information, offering fares in the app was a logical next step toward improving the ease of use of our services," said Jason Quan, GM at RTA. "This initiative is one of many ways we are working to improve the accessibility of our system, especially given the challenges posed by COVID-19.”
Along with mobile ticketing, RTA is introducing free transfers and fare capping, two cost-effective features for its riders that improve equity and access to the RTA system. One-way $2 fares purchased in the Transit app are valid for 90 minutes, making any transfers within that 90-minute window free system-wide. When a rider’s one-way fares total the amount they would have paid for an unlimited pass, they are automatically upgraded and refunded the difference.
“Under a conventional fare structure, a rider who can’t afford a monthly pass upfront ends up paying more over time than riders who can,” said Cole McCarren, sr. transit analyst at RTA. “This new system is contactless and easy to use, but perhaps most of all, it improves equity.”
Transit was endorsed by RTA in September 2020 as the agency’s official mobile app. The app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play store.