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Colorado Transit District Taps Tech to Improve Ticketing Experience

Mountain Metropolitan Transit in Colorado Springs has upgraded its ticketing technology using a fare-payments-as-a-service platform, in a move to make riding transit easier and possibly cheaper for riders.

Closeup of someone holding their smartphone up to a scanning machine on public transportation.
Submitted Photo: Modeshift
A Colorado transit agency continues the march toward making the ticketing process both easier, and at times cheaper, for riders.

Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT) in Colorado Springs has adopted new technology, in the form of a new digital app and in-vehicle hardware from Masabi to smooth the ticketing process and ensure riders do not pay more than they should.

Systems like this one are able to deliver “enhanced fare equity,” said James Gooch, head of marketing at Masabi. “And that is why we are seeing huge demand in the market, whether that be for a complete solution with smart cards, mobile app and contactless bank cards, or as a stand-alone module.”

MMT buses are now equipped with Masabi’s Justride Validator technology, which communicates with the new account-based ticketing upgrade, a contactless digital fare-payments system, which saw its first phase roll out in 2022 with the new RideMMT mobile app.

“Account-based ticketing systems shift where the information is stored from the card to the back office, and this is where the fare calculation happens,” Gooch explained in an email. “This means passengers do not need to select a fare or purchase a ticket in advance, and with fare capping set up, they are guaranteed to receive the best value fares based on the fare rules set by the agency.”

Industry leaders say these are the kinds of tech upgrades riders have come to expect, in part because they can lead to real savings at the farebox, and make the whole riding experience smoother and easier.

“I think the biggest part of it is understanding what our communities need, making those the key focus of what we do, and delivering on these promises each and every day. I think that will help to go and build trust,” said Jameson Auten, general manger and CEO of Lane Transit District (LTD) in Eugene, Ore., speaking on a panel in June to discuss how to create more trust in public transportation.

Technology can help to improve the transit experience, and grow engagement with riders, Auten continued.

“I think tech does play a role because it’s ubiquitous,” he remarked. “Technology can play a role by adding to the value.”

Similar Masabi technology has been deployed in other small to mid-size transit agencies in the Midwest managed by NEORide, a council of governments representing 29 transit agencies across seven states.

“Masabi’s fare-payments-as-a-service approach means that its platform is multi-tenant and used by multiple agencies,” said Gooch. “As a result, these technologies can be delivered to agencies of all sizes quickly and cost-effectively according to their requirements, with agencies benefiting from continuous updates, and democratized access to this technology.”

Out-of-the-box, fare-payments-as-a-service platforms are quickly gaining traction among transit agencies, said Gooch, noting the shift away from an agency “building their own bespoke ticketing solutions.”

“The upgrade to this platform will greatly improve passenger experience,” said Lan Rao, transit division manager at Mountain Metropolitan Transit. “It offers flexibility and accessibility for our customers to undertake journeys as they please, without having to pay last-minute prices, enhancing and upholding fare equity.”
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.