Valley Metro launches digital fares on its mobile app

Valley Metro has introduced mobile fares to its transportation services, giving bus and light rail passengers the ability to purchase fares in the Valley Metro app, one of the steps in Valley Metro’s Fare Technology Modernization project.

Beginning February 1, Valley Metro app users on iOS and Android have the ability to purchase digital travel tickets for Valley Metro routes, which include both single-ride and area day passes.

This comes on the heels of Valley Metro releasing its mobile app a few years ago, which launched early to help users track the status of transit in real time during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the addition of the mobile fare, users can purchase fares before they travel and maintain an online fare account where they can add credit.

“Mobile fares are being added to various transit companies to give riders more options to pay for their fares while traveling,” said Brittany Hoffman, a Valley Metro spokeswoman.

Hoffman said the Fare Technology Modernization project has been underway for several years but has been slightly delayed due to the impact of the pandemic on the supply chain.

“We wanted something tried and true,” Hoffman said of the construction process for the modernization project, which required special attention to the desert heat and dust.

“We knew it would be useful for them to provide another convenient and easy way for people to pay for our services,” Hoffman said. “We’re expanding the ways people can use our system.”

The move to mobile fare cards required an overhaul of the existing infrastructure, originally installed in 2008 when the light rail began operations.

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“Some (light rail fare vendors) machines are a bit older now,” Hoffman said.

According to Valley Metro and ASU Parking and Transit Services, there are also plans to integrate ASU’s transit passes (ASU U-Pass) into the Valley Metro app.

A spokesman for the University of Parks and Transit Services said he is aware of the app and has been discussing it with Valley Metro for future implementation.

“If the app were ready now, we would test it over the summer for a possible fall implementation. It will require some logistics to leave the U-Pass cards currently in use. We plan to reach Valley Metro for the latest update,” the spokesperson said in an email.

“We’re very excited about (U passes on the Valley Metro app),” Hoffman said.

As part of the tariff modernization project, the existing infrastructure on Stadtbahn platforms was replaced by over 150 new mobile ticket readers. In addition, Valley Metro and the City of Phoenix installed over 900 new digital fare readers on Valley Metro-operated bus routes, Hoffman said.

According to Valley Metro’s website, riders can also expect updated bus tickets, reloadable tickets, and special tickets for ADA and school passes in the near future.

Edited by Annie Graziano, Reagan Priest and Luke Chatham.

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