Nanaimo-area transit riders will have to wait until the New Year before they can use touch cards or cell phones to pay for bus tickets.
Originally slated to be implemented on Nanaimo Transit Regional District buses by November, the Umo electronic fare collection system is now expected to go live in 2023, said Darren Marshall, director of transit operations. , during the meeting of the RDN’s public transit select committee on Tuesday, September 20.
In an email, BC Transit, RDN Transit’s funding partner, said implementation is estimated for early 2023 and the delay was due to the complex nature of rolling out the system across the province.
“The plan to implement Umo in 30 transit systems and over 900 buses is complex and includes multiple dependencies. Unfortunately, unforeseen supply chain issues resulted in a slight adjustment to the prior shared project schedule,” BC Transit said.
BC Transit added that it is currently testing the Umo service, with the team continuing to “configure our Umo instances for additional testing”, and reported that “there were no notable issues”.
At the meeting, administrators Sheryl Armstrong and Charles Pinker expressed concern about the functionality of the system in light of the nationwide mobile and internet outage that occurred earlier this summer, but BC Transit said he was prepared for this eventuality.
“Umo has built-in safeguards that would allow BC Transit to continue to operate in the event of an internet service outage,” BC Transit said.
The Umo rollout will be done in two phases, Marshall told the committee.
“The provider … will offer in Phase 1, an app to purchase fares, a rechargeable smart card, which can be recharged at a participating website or provider, seamless travel between multiple operating partners, and a public transit service cross-regional,” Marshall said. “Cash will remain a payment option. Umo will also offer fare product purchase and usage data… which can be used to inform recommendations on fare policy and service delivery.
More information will be forthcoming, BC Transit said. For more information, visit www.bctransit.com/umo.
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