New tap-and-go card for Louisville’s bus system aims to create faster boarding, consistency

With its new tap-and-go, reloadable rider payment card launching on Jan. 7, The Transit Authority of River City expects Louisville’s bus system to see faster boarding, more consistent arrival times and less negative interactions for drivers.  

The MyTARC Fare Cards, which are the size of a credit card, are currently free when customers purchase an initial balance of $5, and they are available at Union Station, Nia Center and through TARC’s website. 

Riders will still be able to use cash, but TARC Project Manager Angela Ubben said the goal is to make the new system so convenient that riders move away from scraping together loose change.

“You’re just going to tap and get on, meaning it’s literally seconds, versus how long you’re going to take to put in a dollar bill and three quarters,” TARC Project Manager Angela Ubben said. “And if you extrapolate that out, we’re talking a whole community of commuters — that’s going to shorten the on-boarding time quite a bit, which will end up meaning the bus is going to fill up quicker, and arrive quicker at their destination.”  

The new payment system.

The MyTARC Fare Card will charge only the standard prepaid amount of $1.50 per trip instead of the cash fare of $1.75, so it will save the rider time and money. Ubben also said that the new system will help bus drivers, because it will allow them to focus more on the road and less on handling discrepancies. 

“Everything is geared toward the convenience of our customer, and I think in the measure that both parties — the coach operators and the customer — get used to this system, we’re also going to see a great reduction in incidents.”

Once a rider purchases a trip on a MyTARC card, an electronic transfer will automatically be issued onto the card, which is good for up to two hours. Cash riders will no longer receive a paper transfer, since the new system is not set up to handle paper. This will prevent riders from passing transfers to each other, although officials said that was not the intent of the new system.

Customers who still have extra paper passes are able to exchange those for equal value on the MyTARC Card. The cards will be free with the $5 purchase for a limited time, although no end date on that deal has been determined. MyTARC Card’s will be able to be reloaded on a bus, at Union Station or through TARC’s website.

Visit mytarc.ridetarc.org to sign up for or register a card.