Building Inclusivity Through Automated Payments: Two Transit Agencies Implement RMPay
Josephine County Transit, Oregon & Pelivan Transit, Oklahoma
The transit system in Josephine County, Oregon has a history of implementing innovations to deliver outcomes that matter to the community. Its implementation of battery electric buses was the third in the state, long before many much larger systems. Similarly, the agency saw the opportunity to make an important impact for both riders and agency operations by adopting RMPay for both its fixed route and demand response services.
Like Josephine Country Transit, Pelivan Transit in Big Cabin, Oklahoma has also invested heavily in technology. Its services include demand response, Mobility On-Demand through a recent Federal Transit Administration Integrated Mobility Innovation grant, and a dedicated transportation program for the large veteran population in the over 4,000 square mile service area that Pelivan serves. It operates some services in conjunction with other local agencies, so Pelivan also seeks innovative ways to coordinate and serve its large region.
“I focused first on demand response, but I wanted someone who could do it all.”
- Scott Chancey, Transit Manager, Josephine County Transit
Josephine County Transit’s previous payment system for its dial-a-ride service was seen as complex and burdensome for both riders and drivers. “Our emphasis initially was on speeding things up,” said Scott Chancey, Transit Manager for Josephine County.
When boarding a vehicle, riders turned in a paper ticket, which were sold in books of 10 or 20. The agency sought a cashless system that also enabled caregivers the opportunity to manage riders’ accounts, while helping riders board vehicles quickly and reducing stress. The agency has now rolled out RM Pay for demand response riders, and it is currently being implemented for fixed route service.
When Scott began investigating automated payment solutions, Josephine County Transit had already implemented Routematch software for demand response dispatch, and fixed-route vehicle tracking and rider communication. Scott said he wanted a payment solution that could seamlessly work with his agency’s multiple services. “I focused first on demand response, but I also wanted someone who could do it all,” Scott said.
This integration was especially important since equity across services is an important value for the agency. “Not all of our paratransit riders use paratransit exclusively,” Scott told us. “Many use fixed route as well, so we want our automated payment solution to work across our services, which will also include Mobility On-Demand.”
Delivering faster service and peace-of-mind
As in Josephine County, Pelivan Transit had used paper tickets but found them to be unwieldy and difficult to manage for both riders and staff. “Especially because of our large service area, we wanted a system that was seamless and could be operated remotely,” said Transit Director Kendra McGeady. “We know the children and caregivers of our riders want to be able to deposit funds easily into their loved ones’ accounts from out-of-state, while adhering to our billing policies. So our account-based payment system has been especially helpful during the current pandemic.”
The realities of Covid-19 has also demonstrated the value of Josephine Country Transit’s contactless, cashless system. “Given the current situation, no one wants to be counting fares,” Scott told us, “and our own accounting people do not want to deal with paper.”
“We wanted a system that was seamless and could be operated remotely.”
- Kendra McGeady, Transit Director, Pelivan Transit
The flexibility built into RMPay enabled Pelivan Transit to be creative in responding to the needs of its community. Kendra told us that when her team learned seniors were using their Covid related meal deliveries to help feed their pets, they realized RMPay could help.
She explained that Routematch’s notifications/night before reminder automated calls outs system enabled Pelivan to push out a message that anyone in the community who donated two pounds of pet food would receive get a free trip delivered via RMPay. “This program increased our registered users, filled a very vital need in the community, and gives people a little more self-control by utilizing our technology,” Kendra said. “And we received more pet food than we’ll ever know what to do with.”
These two agencies demonstrate the value of an automated faring system and how it can not only reduce cash handling and paper-based tickets, but also build community engagement and inclusivity.