State Launches Transit Fare Discount App

Published On: October 5, 2022

The California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP) and the California Department of Technology (CDT) are partnering to launch a new app called Cal-ITP Benefits that allows transit riders the ability to access discounted fares if verified as eligible.

According to a press release from Cal-ITP, the app, which features multiple languages and a secure Login.gov sign-in, is initially available to Monterey-Salinas Transit bus riders aged 65 and older.

Once the user verifies their age via the sign-in service, they will be able to avoid appearing in-person at a transit agency, which would reduce costs to both the rider as well as administrative costs for the government. 

“Cal-ITP Benefits can help decrease the administrative burden on transit agencies and remove barriers for riders to receive fare discounts while improving social equity and the customer experience,” says Caltrans California Integrated Mobility Program Manager.

Gillian Gillett, who leads Cal-ITP. “Our web app makes accessing lower fares easier for customers, which will help grow transit ridership.”

Once the rider connects their bank card to the app, they will be able to tap the card when they board transit, automatically applying the fare discount benefit. 

The payment and discount are processed and handled by Littlepay, a U.K.-and Australia-based provider of payment infrastructure for transit and mobility.

“We needed a digital tool that is convenient to use, maintains customer privacy, and respects both my staff and customers’ time—and dignity—while offering instructions in both English and Spanish to meet the needs of our service-area residents,” Monterey-Salinas

Transit (MST) General Manager/CEO Carl Sedoryk said. “We get all of that with Cal-ITP Benefits. Plus, the web app is open to anyone with a Login.gov account who is 65 or older and wants to ride MST for half-price when they visit our world-class Central Coast region for business or pleasure.”

Sedoryk notes the word “dignity” in the press release, and Cal-ITP also mentions that the app aligns with many of the equity and inclusion goals found in several of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive orders as well as his Master Plan for Aging playbook. 

The app was developed via a collaboration between Cal-ITP and the Digital Identity team at CDT, using some of CDT’s research into the Digital ID system. 

Following the launch for riders aged 65 and older, the Cal-ITP Benefits app can be used to provide digital verifications for students, veterans, people with disabilities, and low-income residents.

Image: www.calitp.org

About the Author: Will Keys

Will Keys writes about technology issues for the GovReport. He is a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at will at govreport.org