Coming to riders in early 2018, The Wave, a new tap-and go method, will offer riders a more simple, seamless, and cost-effective way of riding. The Wave is new smart technology available through the use of a smart card and a smart-phone application.
Every rider will be able to purchase a smart card for a small, one-time fee, then add funds through the app, website, phone, or at transit locations. In addition, riders will have the opportunity to add funds automatically by linking their bank account to their smart-card. Every smart-card can be registered online, giving riders balance protection in case of loss. Riders do not need to have a bank account to reload their card, as they are able to use cash to reload by visiting the Information Center at Rapid Central Station.
For those riders who may be more tech savvy, or have a difficult time keeping track of a wallet and other small miscellaneous items, The Wave also offers the option of using a free smartphone application to tap and ride. The rider will be able to add funds to their account online and use the barcode on the application to get on the bus and ride.
The Wave also introduces a capped fare for every rider, showcasing a more equitable way of riding the bus. The capped fare allows every passenger who is using the smart card or the phone application to work towards the cost of 1-day, 7-day or 31-day bus pass without having to up front the cost.
“With capped fare, each time a passenger taps their smart card or scans their mobile phone to get on board, they essentially buy their way towards the value of a period pass. Once they reach the dollar value of a day pass, 7-day pass, or 31-day pass, they are no longer charged for the rest of that period each time they board the bus,” explains Michael Bulthuis, Public Outreach Coordinator of Community Engagement for The Rapid.
The current system requires every passenger to pay the entire value of a period pass up front (day pass is $3.50, 7-day pass is $16.00, and a 31-day pass is $47.00), and the value is tied to the physical ticket. When the actual ticket is lost, or the magnetic stripe is damaged the rider loses the value on the card. This will no longer be an issue with The Wave as the value will be tied to a registered account. Riders do not need to have a bank account to register their card.
Riders will be able to purchase smart cards online, at the Rapid Information Center, Ticket Vending Machines at Central Station, at area Meijer, D&W, and Family Fare stores, and at various other retail locations located throughout the six-city region.
The pilot testing will begin late August and early September. Anyone who is a bus rider and at least 18 years old is encouraged to apply to test the program here
. For more information on this new system and any questions on the new transition please visit The Rapid’s dedicated website to The Wave here
Michelle Jokish Polo is Rapid Growth's On The Ground Editor. To connect with Michelle, you can email her at [email protected] and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.