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Cubic Announces Launch of Its Integrated Transit Platform

A new transit mobility platform developed by Cubic is designed to be used by transit agencies of any size, enabling riders to pay fares and plan trips across public and private modes.

A person stepping off a bus.
Transit systems serving tiny towns to mega cities are integrating fare payment, trip planning, bus tracking and more onto one platform.

Umo is but one of the latest technology platforms to integrate a suite of “mobility-as-a-service” (MaaS) offerings into one rider-friendly app.

“What’s really exciting about Umo, for us, is it helps our clients out, with no more fumbling for paper passes, or transfers, or coins anymore,” said Chris Ackerman, marketing manager and public information officer for the Victor Valley Transit Authority (VVTA). The agency serves a roughly 1,000-square-mile region of the high desert in Southern California and will launch the Umo platform this week. 

Umo is developed by the technology firm Cubic, which is used as the nerve center for a number of transit providers — large and small — as a subscription service. In addition to supporting a modern fare payment system, the platform allows for bus tracking and integrates with other transportation providers, like Uber or Lyft.

For now, the app takes riders to the respective Lyft or Uber apps to book and pay for those rides, but “deep integration” is coming, said Mick Spiers, general manager for Cubic Transportation Systems.

Umo is set to deploy in Southern California, northern Seattle and Shreveport, La.

“We do have over 100 customers around the U.S. using both the Umo IQ and Umo Pass products that will be transitioning from the previous brand over into the new ecosystem,” said Bonnie Crawford, senior product unit director at Cubic Transportation Systems, in a Tuesday webinar announcing the release of the product.

Umo is described as “a single platform in a much more cost effective way that’s easier to deploy and giving customers access to technology, that potentially was previously inaccessible,” said Spiers.

Cubic developed a single platform, where multiple agencies can connect and share MaaS offerings similar to other cloud-enabled products like Spotify, Netflix and Office 365.

The platform gives regional managing authorities a single ecosystem that engages with their riders and makes it easier for them to navigate around their city, said Spiers.

Integrated fare payment, trip planning and other features built into a single off-the-shelf, cloud-based system is a technology trend gaining traction among transit providers. For example, more than a half dozen bus operators and a regional rail provider in California’s Central Valley have consolidated trip planning and fare payment under one mobile app.

“We’re providing the tools that are needed for a city to manage their mobility network, that they also give the tools to the fingertips of end users to enable them to navigate their city in a very seamless way,” said Spiers.

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.