Beginning in March, Chatham Area Transit riders will have the option to purchase digital bus tickets and passes on their smart phones, giving them the ability to go cashless and reduce contact when boarding CAT bus. CAT has partnered with Token Transit to launch the mobile ticketing app. To ride, the customer simply shows the bus operator the ticket displayed on their smart phone instead of sticking a pass or cash into the fare box.
CAT is excited to launch this new service next month, especially in the COVID-19 era, said interim CEO Valerie Ragland.
“Not only will this option be a benefit to many of our customers in terms of convenience, there is also an added safety element, since the service helps reduce cash handling and physical contact with the fare box,” Ragland said.
The service will allow customers to purchase any pass currently available to customers, including halffare discounted passes and CAT Mobility paratransit tickets. In addition, a fare capping feature ensures that the app’s user never pay more than what is in their best interest. For instance, if a customer takes two rides in one day, that customer won’t be charged any more that day because the customer already paid the equivalent of a day pass. The same feature would apply to weekly and monthly passes. (With oneway passes, customers will still have to request a paper transfer ticket, if needed.)
In addition to providing another option for purchasing a pass, the mobile ticketing app is expected to help reduce service delays that sometimes result from multiple customers inserting cash or paper passes into the fare boxes.
The Token Transit app is free and is available in both Apple and Google Play stores. The digital tickets are not activated until the customer taps the fare on their phone. Once activated, passengers and operators will see the CAT logo with a pulsating circle around it and the current time. The pulsating circle indicates to the bus operator that the pass is valid. When a pass has expired it will be noted on the phone and the pulsating circle will stop and change to grey. Customers should not activate the pass until they are ready to board the vehicle for the first time.
CAT customers will still be able to purchase paper tickets on the bus and at the Joe Murray Rivers, Jr. Intermodal Transit Center. In addition, customers still have the ability to purchase tickets online at catchacat.org and have them mailed to their homes.