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Spokane Transit Authority considers fare capping

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Rebecca White/SPR
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 The Spokane Transit Authority could start capping bus fares to the cost of a daily, or monthly pass by this time next year.

The fare capping system is apart of a larger set of changes designed to reduce cash payments at bus stops and improve equity.

Brandon Rapez-Betty, the communication and customer service director at the Spokane Transit Authority, said fare capping will allow customers to swipe a card, or an app on their phone every time they ride the bus.

“Instead of paying cash on the bus, they can load that value onto the smart card, and you can only get the fair capping benefit if you use the smart card or your phone with the fare capping app,” he said. “So, there’s an added incentive for people to use that.”

If they ride enough that they are charged up to $60 in a month, the cost of a monthly pass, they will not have to pay again for the rest of the month because they’ve covered the cost of a bus pass. That will also be true if they pay $4, the cost of two trips, in one day.

Rapez Betty said similar models are already in use in LA and Denver.

people who are most comfortable with cash can go to transit centers, where a worker can load cash onto a card for them. They can also do so over the phone and STA will mail them a card. He said using the app, or one of the new smart card terminals that will go up around town, will also be an option.

The public has until the third week of December to provide feedback on the proposal. A survey is available on the STA’s website. The STA Board will vote on the proposal in January and fare capping is anticipated to go live around the end of next year.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.