TARTA rolls out dynamic new fare system

The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) is a vital resource in the Toledo area for transportation to jobs, education and healthcare. 

TARTA has been transporting Toledoans in and around town for just over 50 years. With 32 local bus routes and approximately 3.5 million passengers each year, TARTA is a trusted and reliable source of mobility and independence in the Toledo community. 

Fare System of the Future

During a live demonstration at its TARPS facility on July 21, TARTA unveiled the “future of rider technology” with a new, state-of-the-art fare machine. A year in the making, the new machines accept TARTA passes, the EZfare app and cash payments without requiring exact change. 

TARTA ceased charging for rides in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and only began charging once again in August of this year with the introduction of their new fare machine systems. 

“People still needed to go back and forth to work. Some people lost their income, so it’s something we thought was the right thing to do in terms of keeping it free as long as we could,” said Andy Cole, Communications and Marketing Manager at TARTA. 

Community Effort

“A lot of thought went into how to use the technology – which technology to purchase– simply because it had been two years since we had charged fares as a COVID-19 safety measure,” Cole said. We were figuring out a way to make it easier for people to board and to use us day-to-day as there’s thousands of people who depend on us every day to make their commute a little easier.”

Cole credits public feedback and opinion as the key driving force throughout the course of this project. He states they ended up with a system that just “made the most sense for us and our riders.”

A group of TARTA Ambassador Riders will be testing out this new technology for themselves and posting their experience on social media in hopes to build an audience and educate followers on the new system updates. 

New Price Structure

Tokens will no longer be accepted on any TARTA bus systems. However, a token exchange program is in place now through September 30. 

Customers or organizations with less than 10 tokens may exchange them for one-way tickets. Those with more than 10 may exchange them by scheduling an appointment at TARTA’s headquarters located at 1127 W. Central Avenue. Pass-holders with 10 or fewer can turn them in for current passes of the same value. Organizations holding 10 or more passes dating back to 2020 may also turn them in for current passes of the same value. 

Though some new fare structures have taken place, most will remain at pre-pandemic levels or lower.  In an effort to rebuild community relations following the sting of the pandemic, TARTA’s new structure also includes discounted fares for eligible target groups including veterans, seniors, individuals with special needs and more. Those eligible are encouraged to complete the Reduced Fare Application Process

In regard to further innovations down the line, Cole revealed, “We’re going to test this and do some more listening in December and January to learn what people liked and didn’t like and hopefully put a permanent fare structure in front of our Board of Trustees in February of 2023.”

For additional information and full pricing structure, please visit the TARTA website.