RIPTA to eliminate paper passes starting in January 2022

Dec. 21, 2021
The move away from paper is part of the authority’s transition to its Wave smart fare collection system.

Starting Jan. 15, 2022, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will not accept paper fare products on its buses as part of its transition to is Wave smart fare collection system.

Customers can preserve monetary value of existing passes – including day passes, seven-day passes and 10-ride passes – by exchanging them for Wave fare products, which include a reloadable smart car or a mobile app. While exact change fares will be accepted on buses, transfers will no longer be issued nor will change cards for non-exact cash payment.

“These are some of the final changes as we move RIPTA to a 21st century fare collection system which has so many conveniences and benefits for our customers,” said Greg Nordin, RIPTA’s chief of strategic advancement. “With our Wave system, our passengers can purchase just what they need, when they need it and board our buses in a safe and contactless manner, using their Wave card or the mobile app.”

RIPTA launched the Wave fare collection system in September 2020, which allows the authority of offer features such as automatic reloading and the “Earn As You Go” fare capping option where no passenger will be charged more than $6 in a single day and $70 within a calendar month.

Nordin explained that with Wave, the base $2 fare includes one hour of unlimited travel on all RIPTA routes, so passengers can transfer between routes during that time. He also noted that the mechanical units on the bus that printed out transfers and change cards have begun to reach the end of their useful life expectancy, increasingly causing roadside service calls and route delays.

“Eliminating the need to print transfers and change cards will help our system run more efficiently,” Nordin said. “And again, the ease and flexibility of Wave will help make it easy for passengers to transition to exact change without the need for paper transfers.”

The exception to the elimination of paper passes will be through the Ride program, which will continue to accept paper passes.

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