City Council Approves Big Blue Bus Fare Policy Changes to Enhance Customer Experience

April 13, 2022 8:51 AM

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - At its meeting last night, the Santa Monica City Council approved the following fare policy changes for Big Blue Bus (BBB), that will take effect June 22, 2022:

"The fare policy changes were developed with significant input from our community, and promote safe, convenient, and equitable access to our system, by lowering fares, maintaining health and safety improvements on board, reducing boarding and travel times, and re-aligning fare products with customer preference," said Ed King, Santa Monica Department of Transportation Director

In February 2021, BBB initiated a contactless fare pilot, to help staff assess the customer and operational impacts of a cashless system. As part of the pilot, BBB discontinued acceptance of cash, paper passes, and tokens on board, and required customers to make contactless fare payments with TAP or a mobile ticket instead. Thus far, 94 percent of BBB customers have transitioned to contactless fare payments, which have helped make buses safer and more hygienic for customers and Motor Coach Operators, while improving bus boarding and travel times. Savings in travel times were reinvested in the system to provide better and more frequent service on some BBB routes.

Although the pilot will conclude with the implementation of the June 22 fare policy changes, BBB remains committed to improving access to contactless fares. The agency intends to develop a program to identify and address the fare needs of vulnerable riders and social service agencies, expand TAP retail locations and the distribution of BBB products, and promote access to free and discounted transit fares through ongoing customer education and outreach.

About Big Blue Bus

Big Blue Bus operates a fleet of 195 vehicles transporting passengers daily across a 58-square mile service area. Nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to a cleaner environment, the agency plans to convert its entire fleet from natural gas to zero emissions by 2030. Currently, 10-percent of the fleet is battery electric. The rest of the fleet operates on other alternative fuels, including renewable natural gas (RNG), a form of liquefied and compressed natural gas (LNG/CNG), which helps cut emissions by up to 90 percent. Serving Santa Monica and the Los Angeles area since 1928, Big Blue Bus has won numerous awards for its marketing, customer service, safety, and efficiency.

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