HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Smartphone users in the Rocket City will soon find it easier to ride public transit.
On Thursday, the city of Huntsville announced a new “contactless payment method” that allows public transit riders to purchase fares through a free app called Token Transit. The app will allow users to buy single-ride tickets for Orbit or Access, as well as monthly passes.
Parking and Public Transportation Director Quisha Bryant calls the program a win-win for the city.
“This gives riders more options to get on the bus,” said Quisha Bryant, Director of Parking and Public Transportation. “In the world we’re living in, people want to use an app, and they have their phone in their hand when they get on a bus.”
In an agreement approved by the Huntsville City Council, Token Transit will retain 10% of fare purchases, which will later be reimbursed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), which gave the city the idea for using the app, up to $5,000 during the pilot term.
According to a news release, UAH and the city connected on the idea after studying several kinds of contactless fare payment systems.
“UAH would like for us to have a successful pilot project, and then roll it out to small urban and rural transit systems across the state,” said Transit Manager John Autry.
Autry said the app not only makes it easier to buy tickets and passes, but also allows employers, colleges, and universities to buy tickets in bulk to send directly to individuals.
“The tickets and passes are electronically stored within the mobile app,” Autry stated. “There will be training with all our employees prior to rollout, starting with our bus and paratransit operators.”
The city said it expects Token Transit to be available in Huntsville in early 2022.