MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Manatee County commissioners are planning to move forward with a pilot program extension that makes it easier for people to use public transportation.
In 2017, the Public Works and Transit Division staff began investigating mobile ticketing as a simple and cost-effective approach for bus riders to purchase passes and single ride fares, using mobile phones.
With approval from the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners, a pilot mobile ticketing program with the company Token Transit launched on April 2, 2018. The one-year pilot program has allowed Manatee County Public Transit riders to use their mobile phones to pay for bus tickets. There is also no need to "swipe" a bus pass or deposit cash during boarding.
County leaders say the program has been successful. Access to services is much easier as bus riders no longer need to go to Transit Stations to purchase their bus passes or carry cash to deposit in the farebox, according to William Steele, Transit Division Manager and Ryan Suarez, Transit Planning Manager.
Additionally, no on-board equipment is necessary, so there are no capital costs and the back-office operating expenses are paid using the vendor's portion of the fare payment.
Now, county leaders would like to extend the program by three years and will likely vote to do so on Thursday, July 18.
As of May 31, 2019, over $50,000 in mobile ticket sales have been made via the transit mobile ticketing software application.
The use of mobile ticketing combined with the implementation of real-time bus arrival information technology, to be launched later this year, continues a pattern of transit technology enhancements that benefit the passenger, according to transit leaders.
Over time, mobile ticketing and real-time bus arrival information will be available on a shared software platform, county transportation officials said.
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