The United States Department of Transportation last week awarded $235,000 to the Gulf Coast Center under the Federal Transit Administration Bus Livability Competitive Grant Program for its “smart card” technology.
"The Gulf Coast Center and our partners, UTMB and the City of Galveston/Island Transit, are very excited about this new fare card technology,” said Gulf Coast Center/Connect Transit Transportation Director James Hollis. “These smart cards will allow passengers the ability to pay their fares for both the Mall of The Mainland Park & Ride and the Victory Lakes P&R with a card that they can load in advance. They will not have to carry cash or purchase coupon books in advance.”
Hollis said the system also will reduce the amount of cash that Gulf Coast Center staff has to count from the fare boxes daily.
“The other benefit is that this technology will improve our required reporting as it will be tracked by swiping the cards on the on board bus computers,” he said. “In summary, it will make everyone’s life easier. Houston METRO has been using this technology for a few years now.”
“It will help with regional connectivity among all of the fixed routes on the mainland and with Island Transit,” added Chief Financial Officer Rick Elizondo.