Riders of BC Transit in Quesnel could eventually use their phone to board. (Quesnel Observer File Photo)

Riders of BC Transit in Quesnel could eventually use their phone to board. (Quesnel Observer File Photo)

BC Transit planning to bring digital option for fares in Quesnel

A pilot project could have riders pay using their phone or credit card

Travelling on a Quesnel bus could be as easy as tapping a credit card or scanning your phone in the next few years.

That was the vision laid out by BC Transit representatives during a Quesnel city council meeting on May 25.

Lindsay Taylor is the manager for government relations for BC Transit. She presented to council alongside Ryan Dennis.

Dennis said cash would always remain an option.

“We’re really looking to remove barriers and increase convenience for our riders so they chose transit more readily,” Dennis said. “We’re lagging with our existing system, forcing people to carry cash… or go to a brick and mortar location to purchase a bus fare in advance.”

READ MORE: BC Transit reinstates fares, front door loading in June

The idea is in the early phases, with BC Transit looking to pilot the project in the next year.

Riders could download an app, and buy passes online, or just tap a credit card while boarding, and be charged for their single fare.

Quesnel buses have remained relatively busy through the pandemic. While provincial BC Transit ridership numbers are down 44 per cent, Quesnel’s ridership is only down 34 per cent.

“To me, that’s a good news story,” Taylor said. “That means we have a solid customer base that really depends on the transit system to be able to get to work, for medical trips and to be able to go shopping.”

Taylor said BC Transit is in the middle of its three-step plan to return to normal service. They’ve gotten through the response phase, are in the recovery phase, and are hoping to start the rebuilding phase soon. With BC Transit accepting COVID-19 restart grants from the provincial government, fares are frozen for the time being.

The recovery phase includes dropping some enhanced safety measures on buses. The plexiglass shields protecting drivers remain, but they have begun collecting fares again, and front door entry is now the only way to board.

Quesnel has three bus routes with around 11,000 hours of service combined per year. That could change in 2022 when a service review is scheduled to take place.

READ MORE: BC Transit aims to have all-electric bus fleet by 2040

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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