E-fare for buses will connect 8 counties

Posted at 5:36 PM, Feb 16, 2016

Soon, you'll be able to use your smart phone to ride the bus in all eight counties of Tampa Bay.

Right now, you have to pay separate bus fares when you switch between counties.

For commuters who ride the bus, each swipe adds up.


Ebony Weaver said it could cost her $10 to $12 to make it to work in Clearwater. 


"They should make it more affordable and commutable knowing that we're just across the bridge," Weaver said.


"A lot of people that get on the bus... they are unaware that once they get over there they have to buy another ticket. That was a waste of money."


By the end of summer 2016, Ebony can pay one fare on a smart phone and ride the bus into all eight counties around Tampa Bay.


Tuesday, the heads of the regional transit authorities met to talk about a smart card with one fare rate that will be in place within two years. It shouldn't cost you more. 


"We're still in the process of developing what exactly that's going to be, but it should be one cost to get from wherever your point of departure is to your destination," CFO for HART Jeffrey Seward said.


Transit reps are hoping even people who don't depend on the bus will use it more and the new regional fare will solve financial problems. 


"If I wanted to go to St. Pete, I would have to pay here, then pay again, I feel like I should only pay once to go one place," Philance Parker, a bus rider, said. 


"Once I was over there I would just go to work, I wouldn't try because I have to pay more money to get around so if they make it one fare, everybody would be extremely happy," Weaver said. 


The smart card program may be two years away, but the e-fare price will be in place by the end of the summer.