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For Immediate Release

May 11, 2021

MONTEREY-SALINAS TRANSIT ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF CONTACTLESS FARE PAYMENT DEMONSTRATION

Beginning today, May 11th, Monterey-Salinas Transit becomes the first public transit agency in California to implement an open contactless fare payment technology, allowing customers to use their own contactless credit, debit, or prepaid card or a payment-enabled device to tap to pay their fare on any MST bus—just like they tap to pay for a coffee, lunch, or anything else.

MST bus riders can now get around anywhere MST travels by tapping a Visa or Mastercard debit, credit, or prepaid card or payment-enabled device, removing the need to stand in line to purchase a separate transit card, load a special app, or handle cash while boarding.

Whether a local or a visitor to Monterey County, the rider experience is the same—fast, easy, and secure.

Contactless payment readers have been installed at the front of each MST fixed route bus. Riders can simply tap—with a contactless card or device—on the reader when boarding the bus and again upon exit at their destination and be charged only for the distance they traveled.

MST will also be implementing “fare capping,” which ensures that a rider will not be charged more than $10.00 per day, no matter how many times they ride in a day—as long as they pay with the same contactless card or mobile wallet throughout the day.

For riders who travel on MST more frequently, there are now 7-day and 31-day fare caps as well, when paying with the same contactless card or mobile wallet.

Fare capping enables MST to offer customers the ability to pay as they go, allowing riders to spread over time the equivalent cost of MST’s weekly or monthly unlimited-ride GoPass—after tapping enough times to reach the cost of a 7-day ($50) or 31-day ($95) pass, riders will no longer be charged to ride for the remainder of that time period.

MST CEO Carl Sedoryk says, “Paying for public transit can be difficult when compared to other modes of travel, and outdated fare collection systems have not made our job any easier. The model we are working on with Visa allows customers to use the same card, or mobile device, that they used to buy a coffee to also pay for their rides on public transit. No special card and no custom app is required, Just Tap and Ride. It’s that simple.”

MST’s six-month contactless payments demonstration is the first of many being facilitated by the California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP; www.calitp.org), a Caltrans initiative to enable easy and accessible travel planning and payments. During these six months, MST will evaluate the performance of this fare payment option to determine whether it makes sense for MST and the community it serves.

While adding a contactless payment option, MST will continue to accept all current forms of payment at the bus farebox: cash, GoCards, and monthly/weekly/daily GoPasses. Riders who are eligible for a discount fare can still pay the discount fare with cash, a GoCard, or a GoPass when boarding a bus. MST is working to enable discounted contactless fares.

For complete information about tapping to pay, distance-based fares, and fare capping, visit www.mst.org/contactless-payment.

For schedule information, visit www.mst.org or call MST toll free at 1-888-MST-BUS1 (1-888-678-2871). For RealTime bus arrival information, text “Next” and your four-digit bus stop ID (ex., “Next 9103”) to 25370, call 1-888-MST-BUS1 with your four-digit bus stop ID, download the free Transit App, or use Google Maps. Follow MST on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mst_bus for the latest service alerts.

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