Santa Maria Transit, Modeshift partner to provide new mobile app, free mobile passes for local students

Feb. 23, 2022
Touchless fare collection on the new mobile application will improve safety and efficiency of public transit for Santa Maria students and commuters.

Modeshift has partnered with Santa Maria Regional Transit (SMRT) to launch a platform and new mobile application for SMRT's public transportation system, which includes all existing fares plus free, mobile-accessible bus passes for local college students.

Modeshift designed and implemented the new system, which includes contactless payment options and trip planning tools for riders to improve the safety, efficiency and usability for commuters and students that rely on SMRT. Modeshift explains it provided both the user-facing technology and the underlying digital mobility infrastructure, saving SMRT resources and staff time.

“The COVID-19 pandemic created a need for contactless transit fare collection to encourage social distancing, so Modeshift is proud to work with the city of Santa Maria to create a safer and more accessible mobile application for transit,” said Miroslav Katsarov, CEO of Modeshift. “Digital transformation will continue to be essential for public transit to meet the shifting preferences of riders, so this is only the beginning.”

SMRT will also offer free bus passes to students attending Allan Hancock College, which will be accessible through the new mobile app. Because less than half of students own cars on campus, these students will strongly benefit from better access to public transportation. This will contribute to building a stronger sustainability-oriented community that values public transportation as a means to decrease carbon emissions.

“We’re excited to partner with Modeshift to offer a free option for students so that affordable, accessible transit is one less thing to worry about when getting their education,” said Cindy Morrison, transit grants and project manager for the city of Santa Maria, Calif. “Our students are largely dependent on public transit to get to their classes, extracurricular activities and jobs, so this initiative is very important.”

Features of the mobile app will include:

  • Contactless Payments: Riders can easily purchase all fare products for both SMRT routes and BREEZE routes within the application. The SMRT mobile application is now live (free on App Store and Google Play).
  • Electronic Validation: Users can redeem their fares by scanning a QR code at electronic validators installed on 35 buses across the city.
  • Trip Planner Functionality: Information is integrated from vehicle location and dispatch systems so riders can easily plan their trip while on the go.

The city of Santa Maria is moving toward the future of public transit with the launch of this new application as consumers, particularly young adults and college students, have shifted toward a user-friendly mobile experience and digital payments.