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Rider's Almanac Blog


New fare technology will bring many benefits, including contactless payments

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, February 28, 2024 9:36:00 AM

Fans line up to board a light rail vehicle after a Taylor Swift concert at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Angst over lost fare cards and long lines to buy tickets after big events will be things of the past after a planned upgrade to fare validators found at stations and on vehicles.

The upgrade – the first in 20 years – will allow riders to buy tickets by tapping their mobile phones or credit cards instead of needing a Go-To Card or buying a ticket from a ticket machine. Such contactless payment systems are becoming more widely used across the transit industry and are commonly found at retail stores.

The new technology will make purchasing fares easier for infrequent and first-time riders, as well as regular riders whose stored value would tied to an online account instead of a Go-To Card. Adding value and replacing lost Go-To Cards will become much more seamless after the system upgrade and the planned distribution of more than a half million new Go-To Cards by the end of 2026.

“People are going to love this,” said Revenue Operations Senior Manager Dennis Dworshak. “Your value will be in an account and not physically on the card. That card will only be a token.”

Other benefits of the change include:

  • The ability to link multiple Go-To Cards to one account, so value can be added and available to multiple riders (i.e. a family). 
  • The ability to institute a fare capping program, if adopted. Fare capping allows customers to continue riding at no cost after purchasing a certain amount of fares in a given timeframe.
  • Automatic alerts regarding equipment malfunctions, allowing for faster repairs.

Fare inspection devices that can print citations will also be purchased. Those devices will be used by Transit Rider Investment Program Agents who will inspect fares and issue administrative citations to riders without valid fares.

More information will be shared as we work to implement the upgrade over the coming years.  

Learn more about current fare payment options