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For Immediate Release

1 September 2022

MONTEREY-SALINAS TRANSIT (MST) ANNOUNCES DISCOUNT CONTACTLESS FARES FOR BOTH LOCAL AND VISITING RIDERS 65+ WITH LAUNCH OF NEW BENEFITS ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION WEBSITE

In December 2021, Monterey-Salinas Transit became the first public transportation agency in the United States to enable its riders to verify their eligibility for discount transit fares online and to instantly add that discount benefit to a contactless open-loop debit or credit card.

Initially a program that was only available to MST customers with a California-issued state ID, today MST announces that any older adult age 65+ with a state-issued identification card—from any U.S. state—can now have their eligibility for MST’s Senior fare discount both instantly verified and instantly linked to their contactless-enabled Visa or Mastercard via the new version of Cal-ITP Benefits, a secure web application: https://benefits.calitp.org

MST General Manager/CEO Carl Sedoryk says, “Our Monterey-Salinas service area is home to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Jazz Festival, Pebble Beach public golf course, Pacific Grove monarch butterflies, the National Steinbeck Center, and so many other amazing places and events. We transport folks from all over the country year-round, and now visitors 65+ who travel here from anywhere in the U.S. can capitalize on MST’s world-class transit by verifying their eligibility discount and tapping to ride MST buses for half-price while they’re in town.”

The relaunched Cal-ITP Benefits website uses Login.gov to securely verify a user’s age. Login.gov is a safe way to access government services. If a user does not have an account already, they will be able to create one. To complete the Login.gov verification process, a user will need a:

  • driver’s license or state-issued ID
  • social security number
  • phone number with a plan associated with their name

Right now, Cal-ITP Benefits will work for anyone who meets the following criteria:

  • 65 years of age or older (no need to live in Monterey County)
  • Has a Login.gov account with identity verification
  • Has a form of identification issued by one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia (D.C.), or other U.S. territories (for example: a driver’s license or personal ID)
  • Has a Visa or Mastercard contactless credit or debit card. Contactless means a card you can tap instead of swipe to pay. Look for this symbol on the front or back of your card:

On the Cal-ITP Benefits website, the discount eligibility verification process takes only a few minutes from start to finish, and the website walks a user through the steps. The website is both accessible and available in Spanish.

This launch marks the next phase of MST’s contactless payments demonstration that’s being facilitated by the California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP; www.calitp.org), an initiative of the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to enable easy and accessible travel planning and payments.

Riders who linked their Senior fare discount to a debit/credit card between December 2021 and February 2022—when Cal-ITP was testing the Benefits site—can keep tapping; there’s no need for an MST customer to re-register unless their bank sends them a new card.

If a rider doesn’t have a contactless debit or credit card, they can request one from their bank or from one of the companies that offer free contactless prepaid debit cards, such as the Visa Cash App Card.

Once a user links their discount eligibility to their contactless bank card, they’ll be able to tap into MST’s Senior discount fare right away—there’s no waiting; the discount is instantly applied to the contactless card. And they’ll receive that discount fare benefit every time they Tap to Ride with that contactless card on an MST fixed route bus.

MST and Cal-ITP are working to enable discounted contactless fares for other categories of riders as well. Check www.mst.org/benefits for updates.

For complete information about tapping to pay, visit www.mst.org/contactless-payment.

For more information, visit www.mst.org or call Monterey-Salinas Transit 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 (example, “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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