Riders who hop a bus in many Utah cities will discover using the Utah Transit Authority's new FAREPAY card is up to 20% cheaper than dropping coins in the fare box – for a few months, anyway. The discounts-- intended to encourage cash-paying riders to switch to the new system -- are valid until March 14, 2014, but don't apply to all lines.
The prepaid cards are contactless, which means riders just tap them to a card reader when they board and exit and the fare is deducted from their card. The cards are reloadable in any amount from $5 to $500. Riders buy the card at participating retailers, online and at official UTA Customer Service centers.
"FAREPAY is designed to make riding public transit more convenient by eliminating the need for riders to carry cash, have exact change or wait in line at ticket vending machines," UTA spokesman Remi Barron told the Deseret News. "FAREPAY will also enable UTA to gather better ridership data and adjust service accordingly.
According to a report in the Standard-Examiner, UTA would like to transition to cashless fare system by 2020.
UTA operates a fleet of more than 600 buses and numerous other transit modes in a 1,600 square mile service area that stretches over six counties, from Payson to Brigham City.