Bus riders have a new way to pay fares with EZfare app

Fewer people carry cash these days, which can be a barrier if you need to catch a bus and are expected to have exact change.

Starting today, Laketran riders can use their smartphones to pay for their bus fare by downloading the EZfare app. EZfare lets riders purchase bus passes on their smartphone and then passes are validated by showing the activated pass to the bus operator when boarding Laketran’s Local Route or Park-n-Ride buses.

“Ten years ago when we bought our current fare boxes, they were state of the art but now they are a barrier for quick and easy payment. I have wanted to bring an easy credit card based payment option to our customers for quite some time and this app makes it more convenient to ride the bus” said Laketran Chief Executive Officer Ben Capelle. “We hope the addition of the EZfare app improves the customer experience, and also attracts new riders to our system.”

Until today, Laketran riders had to use cash or pre-printed bus passes. By using EZfare, customers no longer have to keep track of a printed pass and can save time by purchasing bus passes anywhere, anytime on their smartphone.

How the app works:

  1. Download the free EZfare app on Android or Apple app stores.
  2. Create an account.
  3. Select Laketran as the transit system you ride.
  4. Purchase your ticket.
  5. Check out with a debit or credit card or various digital wallets.
  6. Activate the bus pass just before boarding.
  7. Show the active pass to the bus operator.

“EZfare is truly going to revolutionize how people prepare to take transit,” shared Capelle. “Today, you either need to carry cash or purchase a pre-paid bus pass that we mail and you receive it 2-10 days later, which are both a bit archaic and create barriers for people to choose to use transit.”

The app is also designed specifically for public transit users, meaning once a ticket is purchased it is available even without an internet connection, so riders with mobile devices without a data plan or limited data are always able to travel.

According to a study by VISA, commuters reported that the average use of transit would increase by 27 percent if it was easier to pay, with 47 percent saying the need to obtain different tickets for modes of travel is an issue.

EZfare is trying to make transit use easier across the state and beyond. Laketran is one of eleven regional transit authorities that partnered to develop the EZfare app. This state-of-the-art fare payment system, built by leading international mobile ticketing provider, Masabi, allows transit passengers to travel between multiple counties utilizing a single fare payment system promoting regional transportation.

“If you think about it, paying for transit can be very difficult if you are not from the area, especially if you do not regularly carry cash.” explained Capelle. “EZfare eliminates having to learn how to pay your fare based on where you’re traveling. My hope is that EZfare offers transit users the same ease of use as E-ZPass has for turnpike toll payment across the nation.”

App features and access to partnering agencies will be released in phases as it’s developed with a full launch this fall.

“We could call today a soft launch, because there are plans for additional features and agencies,” shared Capelle. “But our customers have long awaited an instant way to buy fares online with a credit card and we’re excited EZfare is finally here to release to our customers.”

Laketran plans to add validators to its Park-n-Ride and Local Route bus fleets that would scan the ticket on the app, similar to scanning a boarding pass when traveling by airplane. Once validators are installed, riders or agencies purchasing fares for clients will be able to use a website version of the app to print one-time-use paper tickets that scan on the validators.

“The goal is to have the validators installed by early fall”, said Capelle.

To assist customers with their transit trip planning, EZfare is integrated with the industry leading TransitApp, which is used by transit riders across the country. The app enables users to locate transit routes and stops near their current location and access upcoming arrival times for bus routes.

The benefits of the EZfare app aren’t just improving ease of use for the customers, Laketran will be able to save on its costs to collect and manage its fare revenue eliminating the need for an electronic fare box and managing cash deposits.

“Having a modern and innovative transit system, not only improves mobility in our community, but it makes Lake County more attractive to job seekers, home buyers and visitors,” shared Laketran board president Brian Falkowski. “The thousands of daily users will open their EZfare app and see our transit system name and have confidence they can get around Lake County using transit.”