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Cleveland, Ohio, Transit Joins Regional Mobile Ticketing System

The new mobile ticketing platform used by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority is also operational on popular national transportation apps like Uber, Moovit and the Transit app.

A person about to load their bike onto the rack on the front of a public bus.
Cleveland, Ohio’s transit system has joined a growing list of other transit providers in the region with the integration of its fare payment onto a single platform.

The new system — known as EZFare — also integrates with popular national transportation platforms like the Transit app, Uber and Moovit, allowing riders to pay for their trips on these familiar and ubiquitous platforms.

In partnership with transit tech company Masabi and NEORide, a regional council of governments across Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) recently adopted the EZFare contactless payment system.

NEORide launched the EZFare system in 2019, which now covers 14 transit systems.

“The goal was to look at the better way to coordinate transportation, on a multi-county basis, and make it easier to do fare payment across county borders,” said Katherine Conrad, director of client services at NEORide.

In addition to offering a platform that consolidates fare purchases across an entire region, EZFare brings trip-planning real-time bus and rail information and could create new opportunities, like fare-capping, GCRTA spokesman Robert Fleig explained.

“Fare capping will allow RTA to provide a more equitable fare system focusing on those riders that are unbanked or underbanked,” said Fleig, explaining the concept that has been adopted by a number of transit agencies, which place a cap on what riders pay over a set period of time, regardless of the number of trips taken.

GCRTA will be retiring its in-house RTA CLE app in favor of EZfare.

“Although the RTA CLE app is popular amongst our riders, it doesn’t provide all the fare media RTA has to offer, including real-time information,” said Fleig in an email. “In transitioning forward to more universal technologies, we are excited to provide updated mobile payment options for our customers via EZFare.”

Transitioning to a more universal fare-payment platform is often seen as a technology goal among transit agencies, particularly as the range of mobility modes has continued to expand in the form of e-scooters, ride-hailing, bikes, and the more conventional options like buses and trains.

And by allowing riders to access fare payment on common platforms like Uber, visitors and others from outside the area can easily access public transit across the NEORide service area.

“One of the things we did to further that is we have an integration with Transit app, Moovit and Uber. So those well-known, globally recognized platforms, when you’re in our region, you can purchase EZfare passes through them,” said Conrad.

“Most transit users have at least one of those apps on their system, so that way, they can just take advantage of that,” she added.
Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.