MOD Fare Integration for Transit is part of our research report series examining the FTA Sandbox Program in the Los Angeles and Puget Sound Regions. Click here to access the other research reports and learn more about the program.

Not long ago, riders on buses and trains across the world paid their fares with tokens. Eventually, tokens were replaced by sophisticated electronic swipe and tap cards and tickets, which are the primary fare media today. Several agencies now use mobile apps to collect fares.

However, public transit services in most metropolitan areas in the United States are highly fragmented among multiple modes and providers with various methods of payment. Integrating fare payments systems provides riders with smoother transfers. With private mobility services like transportation network companies (TNC) playing a significant role in many journeys, the landscape of payment systems is growing more complex.

The integration of fare payment systems on public transit is important for efficiency, reliability, customer satisfaction, multimodal trip planning, tracking ridership, and collecting revenue. Studies of fare integration in the United States, western Europe, Australia, and Israel found that simplifying fare payment across multiple agencies and introducing new modes of payment resulted in notable increases in transit ridership.

This report discusses individual and collaborative efforts of public transit agencies and private companies to collect and integrate payment methods and information. The case study of the Mobility on Demand (MOD) Sandbox project in the Los Angeles and Puget Sound regions provides examples of successes and roadblocks in fare integration between public transit agencies and private MOD providers.

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