The Regional Transport Authority of the Toledo Region (TARTA) is a vital resource in the Toledo region for transportation to jobs, education and health care.
TARTA has been transporting Toledoans in and around the city for just over 50 years. With 32 local bus lines and approximately 3.5 million passengers each year, TARTA is a trusted and dependable source of mobility and independence in the Toledo community.
Tariff system of the future
During a live demonstration at its TARPS facility on July 21, TARTA unveiled “the future of passenger technology” with a new state-of-the-art ticketing machine. After a year in the making, the new machines accept TARTA passes, the EZfare app and cash payments without requiring exact change.
TARTA stopped charging for rides in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and only started charging again in August this year with the introduction of its new ticket vending machine systems.
“People still needed to travel back and forth to work. Some people have lost their income, so this is something we thought was the right thing to do to keep it free for as long as possible,” said Andy Cole, Communications and Marketing Manager at TARTA.
“We thought a lot about how to use technology – what technology to buy – just because it had been two years since we had charged tariffs as a COVID-19 safety measure,” Cole said. We were looking for a way to make it easier to board and use us on a daily basis, as thousands of people depend on us every day to make their journeys easier.
Cole credits public feedback and opinion as the key driving force throughout this project. He states that they ended up with a system that “made the most sense for us and our riders.”
A group of TARTA Ambassador runners will test this new technology for themselves and post their experience on social media in hopes of building an audience and educating subscribers on new system updates.
New pricing structure
Tokens will no longer be accepted on TARTA bus systems. However, a token swap program is in place until September 30.
Customers or organizations with less than 10 tokens can exchange them for one-way tickets. Those with more than 10 can redeem them by making an appointment at TARTA Headquarters located at 1127 W. Central Avenue. Pass holders with 10 or less can exchange them for current passes of the same value. Organizations holding 10 or more passes dating back to 2020 can also exchange them for current passes of the same value.
Although some new pricing structures have been put in place, most will remain at or below pre-pandemic levels. In an effort to rebuild community relationships after the sting of the pandemic, TARTA’s new structure also includes reduced rates for eligible target groups including veterans, seniors, people with special needs and more. Eligible persons are encouraged to complete the Reduced Rate Application Process.
As for other innovations down the line, Cole revealed, “We’re going to test this and do more listening in December and January to find out what people liked and disliked and hopefully le, put a permanent fee structure before our Board of Directors in February 2023.”
For more information and the full pricing structure, please visit the TARTA’s website.