MTS trolley
An MTS trolley. Courtesy of the transit agency

Riders on Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District buses and trains soon will be able to use a tap-to-pay feature following a vote Thursday.

The board approved one-tap credit card use – as opposed to using a pre-loaded PRONTO card, app or paying at a kiosk at a transit station – which will allow riders to use their credit cards or smart device-enabled credit cards on PRONTO validators at MTS or NTCD transit stations.

Additionally, the MTS Board of Directors voted to add 34 more code compliance inspector positions to help patrol the system, increasing the total number of inspectors from 56 to 90.

The agency also has 200 private security officers deployed through its contracted private security firm, Inter-Con.

“The security and comfort of our riders, and employees is MTS’ main priority,” said board Chair and San Diego City Councilman Stephen Whitburn. “A stronger presence of security on the system and a more efficient payment system for riders on the go is something we’ve heard (about) from the community, and today’s action put words into action.”

According to the agency, the option to pay for transit fare directly with a physical card or smart device was considered after numerous workshops with stakeholders from transit agencies, fare vendors and payment processors.

The hiring of additional security personnel will allow for increased coverage for trolley and bus enforcement teams, as well as the ability to have a daily presence on the passenger safety and homeless outreach teams. The annual cost for the boost in security staffing is approximately $4.2 million.

– City News Service