Eligible passengers aged 65 and over using Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) buses in the US state of California will now automatically receive a discount on their fares when they tap to pay for journeys with their debit or credit card using MST’s fare-capped open loop contactless ticketing system without needing to provide any additional proof of eligibility.
To receive the automatic discount, passengers first verify their identity, age and eligibility on the Benefits app launched by the California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP) using the US government’s Login.gov digital identity and secure sign-in service. They then link their digital ID to the contactless payment card they use to make fare payments.
Once the card is linked to their digital ID via the Cal-ITP Benefits app they will be able to receive discounted fares whenever they travel on MST services.
“The discount eligibility process takes only a few minutes from start to finish and the [Cal-ITP Benefits] website walks a user through the steps,” MST says.
“Once a user links their discount eligibility to their contactless bank card, they’ll be able to tap into MST’s senior discount fare right away — there’s no waiting; the discount is instantly applied to the contactless card. And they’ll receive that discount fare benefit every time they ‘Tap to Ride’ with that contactless card on an MST fixed route bus.”
MST began testing the automatic discounted fare system with local residents with a state-issued ID in December 2021, but has now made it available for all eligible US residents aged 65 years or older who have a Login.gov account and an official ID document such as a personal ID or driving licence issued in any US state or territory.
Cal-ITP is also now “working to bring youth, lower-income riders, veterans, people with disabilities and others the same instant access to free or reduced fares across all California transit providers, without having to prove eligibility to each agency” as part of its overall plan to roll out contactless ticketing state wide, Cal-ITP says.
MST became the first agency in California to begin trialling Cal-ITP’s fare-capped open loop contactless ticketing system in May 2021 followed by express bus routes in Santa Barbara in July 2021.