North Bay’s transit’s fare collection will be receiving a makeover worth over a half-million dollars.
On Tuesday, council approved a contract worth $592,500 to introduce an electronic fare collection system.
The move comes after council approved the implementation of a dynamic transit system which will virtually allow passengers to request buses to pick them up during off-peak hours.
Councillor Chris Mayne, the mover of the motion, touted the benefits of moving away from exclusively cash fares and paper bus passes.
The new system will provide riders with a reloadable card that will be able to be tapped at an automated fare counter. Funds can be added to the card electronically at any time by the rider.
The report prepared by city staff says that electronic fares will provide more accurate counting of funds, speed up transactions and provide riders with more options with how to pay.
Cash fares will still be accepted on North Bay buses.
Councillor Mike Anthony was behind the decision during the council meeting, saying that “this is another way to bring the transit system into the modern age.”
Councillor Mark King questioned whether there is any additional funding available through upper levels of government. Councillor Mayne, who chairs the infrastructure and operations committee, said that he wasn’t sure, but was confident that staff investigated all possible avenues for funding.
The money for the project is coming out of the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, with the $40,000 annual tab to maintain the system being charged to the transit budget.
There was not a specific date mentioned as to when the electronic fares will begin, but councillors did say that it will be in line with the dynamic dispatch system which is slated to begin in the fall.