|Spokane Transit’s Smart Card|
When I was in Seattle recently, I relied solely on public transportation to get around. Which was easy in a city like that. What was kind of a pain though was that I used the lightrail to get downtown from the airport, then used a bus to get around the city and was planning to even ride the Sounder train but ran out of time. All great transportation options, but all ones that require separate tickets or passes to be purchased.
That could soon be a way of the past though, as some of the world’s largest cities, such as in Japan, are updating the way you access transit, with one pass that lets you use trains, buses, the subway and taxis, according to Citylab. For instance, Hong Kong’s Octopus card gives access to all sorts of public transit options—trams, buses, ferries, trains—not to mention parking meters, shops and swimming pools. And the Dutch’s OV-chipkaart pass covers all public transit nationwide.
Now some in America are pushing to digitally integrate our transit systems and come up with passes that work across the country. Not only would this save time by having to purchase only one pass, but will open up transit modes to people who may not have used them before. For instance, if someone buys a bus pass, they’re going to try to just use the bus instead of the lightrail, as that would cost more money to buy a lightrail pass. It would also save money for the transit agencies, who wouldn’t need to spend as much purchasing and installing collection machines, or hiring armored cars to collect the coin and cash paid in fares.
The argument is convincing, so is this actually going to happen? It’s hard to say- there is the issue of political will and overhauling existing ticketing systems can be expensive so it’s hard to say.