Going digital: Edmonton reveals Arc card smart fare transit payment system

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The City of Edmonton's Arc card will soon become the newest way for transit riders to pay for fares across the region. Sarah Komadina explains how it works. – Jun 8, 2021

The City of Edmonton unveiled its new Arc card on Tuesday, which will soon become the newest way for transit riders to pay for fares across the region.

The Arc card is an account-based electronic fare payment system that will make paying for transit easier and more convenient in the greater Edmonton region.

Transit users in Edmonton, St. Albert, Strathcona County, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove and Beaumont will eventually all be using the same Arc card digital system.

Read more: Border closure due to COVID-19 puts brakes on Edmonton transit’s smart fare system

Arc cards can be tapped when entering and exiting buses and the LRT on all seven participating transit systems. With Arc, money is stored in a secure online account, not on the card itself.

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On Tuesday, the city revealed the Arc brand.

“We’re excited to introduce the Arc brand and turn on the Arc card validators on our transit system,” said Carrie Hotton-MacDonald, branch manager of Edmonton Transit Service. “These are important program milestones as we continue to modernize transit service throughout the greater Edmonton region.”

“Arc symbolizes forging a path between two points, much like how transit connects us to vital services, each other and our region.”

Read more: Edmonton Transit installs ‘tap-on tap-off’ fare validators on 5 buses

The Arc card payment system will roll out in phases, starting with a pilot program this summer. The first users to test out Arc will be a selection of adult regular fare users, U-Pass users and transit staff.

Phase 2 of the launch will happen in 2022 and offer a wider range of transit users the option to use the smart fare cards, including those who use the Ride Transit Program and seniors.

The city said tap on/tap off Arc card readers have been installed on most transit agency busses. Smart fare vending machines are in the process of being installed in Edmonton LRT stations and key regional transit locations.

The machines accept cash, debit or credit card payment but will remain off until the pilot program begins this summer.

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Once rolled out, the city said transit users will still have the option of paying transit fares with cash, paper passes and tickets.

The city is looking for people to take part in the pilot program this July and August. Participants are needed from Edmonton, St. Albert and Strathcona County.

More information on the smart fare system can be found on the city’s website.

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