MTS to Spend $34 Million for New ‘Tap-and-Go’ Fare System

by on July 23, 2019 · 0 comments

in San Diego

by Lauren J. Mapp / inewsource /  July 15, 2019

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System plans to spend $34 million for a new “tap-and-go” fare collection system that will replace one that some riders find inconvenient and that the agency says is outdated.

The MTS fare program has had problems for a long time.

  • Until two years ago, riders couldn’t store money on their Compass Cards, a reusable ticket for daily, weekly and monthly passes, even though the technology has existed for years.
  • The Compass Card launched in 2009 and had data security issues from the start that left users vulnerable to credit card fraud. MTS has made security improvements to the card, but it still doesn’t fully meet industry standards.
  • The Compass Cloud mobile app released two years ago was originally supposed to give riders access to all fare options, but MTS changed the plan. Riders still can’t purchase one-way tickets with it.

MTS hopes the $34 million tap-and-go plan “will be close to our ideal system” when it starts at the end of 2021, agency spokesman Rob Schupp said. The cost includes $11 million for a decade of operation and maintenance. Even if there weren’t problems with the existing fare system, the upgrade would be necessary. Schupp called the current system “worn out.” Replacement parts for the hardware are no longer available, and the software isn’t being serviced anymore, he said.

MTS will pay for the new fare system with federal money and funds from a quarter-cent state sales tax that’s dedicated to transit projects. A spokeswoman for the North County Transit District said that agency will also switch to the same fare system as MTS but has yet to decide how much to spend or how it will be funded.

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