About Frederick County
The Problem / Challenge
TransIT is the Frederick County public transit system that provides nearly 840,000 one-way passenger trips a year. They provide local and commuter bus service and demand response paratransit services as well as offering commuter assistance and employer outreach information. They position themselves as a community transportation organization that works within Frederick County in order to improve the lives of its ridership. As a strong community supporter, TransIT prides itself on being able to help its riders wherever they can. Ticket prices for seniors and students remain to be competitively affordable, ensuring that as many member of the community as possible have access to public transportation.
For the past 25 years, the only method for paying bus fares was for riders to have exact change (in cash form) or paper tickets (purchased elsewhere). If riders wanted to purchase packages of tickets (to receive bulk discounts) or to buy a day/month pass, they would need to mail in a check or locate a vendor for in-person purchases. While this has been the traditional method that transit agencies have employed, the modern rider demands a better experience. Because so many other products and services are easily accessed via online purchasing and on mobile devices, riders have come to expect a streamlined process, enabled by technology. Adrienne Moretz (Community Relations Manager for TransIT Services) tells us that 60% of their riders have mobile Internet access. “It was time for an update,” she says, with regards to the methods by which riders could access faring options.
“We predicted that mobile ticketing would be a successful outlet for TransIT. ”
TransIT knew what they wanted: mobile ticketing. But could it be financially feasible? For example, smart card reader systems are expensive to set up and require a significant investment in infrastructure. They began to seek a method for enabling the same benefits for their riders, but with less implementation and maintenance expense.
As of Jan. 1st, 2015, TransIT implemented the use of TripSpark’s mobile ticketing solution and rebranded it as “TransIT ezFARE”. Riders simply download the app to their smartphone or mobile device and register with the service. They can then buy bus fares by adding money to their account. This can be in the form of day/month/year passes or single fares.
They currently employ a visual pass validation system with the drivers. This saved a great deal on deployment costs over having to upgrade to an automated onboard validation device at this time. As rider adoption of the technology increases and future funding becomes available, they will always have the option to upgrade their system. This will make it even easier for riders and drivers to move the fare collection process along.
30 people downloaded ‘TransIT ezFARE’ in the first week. Over time, Adrienne hopes to add more technology services in the coming year. One suggestion came from a rider who asked if TransIT could add real time bus arrivals. Conveniently, Adrienne reports that this feature is in the plans for the upcoming fiscal year.
“We have had several compliments on the app! ”
Technology is poised to become a guiding factor in the way that budgets get set. Whether riders demand better access to bus schedules through passenger information systems or desire more faring options, technology is going to be essential to connect all those concerned. TripSpark Streets ITS is the centerpiece to the entire operation because it links the back office schedules with real time updates from buses. With everything fully integrated, your fixed route software enables you to provide a far better service offering to your riders.
Frederick County Transit continues to plan for the future by introducing new technologies to improve rider response. TripSpark is proud to be able to offer the products they require to keep them up to date.