Santa Maria, CA


SMRT, CA: a contactless ticketing solution that supports all fare modes
sq. m.

Santa Maria Regional Transit, an agency that provides intracity service within Santa Maria and intercity service within Santa Barbara County, is one of Modeshift’s latest partners. The deal with SMRT was made after a public tender in which Modeshift proved to be the best solution to SMRT’s needs. The agency used funding from the CARES Act (a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill that the US government passed to tackle the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic).  

What were SMRT’s needs? 

SMRT needed a working mobile application for contactless ticketing that supports all fare modes, as well as mobile-accessible bus passes for local college students. The agency needed a trustworthy partner to provide not only the necessary software and equipment, but also help with the deployment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Modeshift deployed remotely several agencies and has a proven record of navigating the specific situation with ease and efficiency.  

We’re excited to partner with Modeshift to offer a free option for students so that affordable, accessible transit is one less thing to worry about when getting their education. Our students are largely dependent on public transit to get to their classes, extracurricular activities, and jobs, so this initiative is very important.

Cindy Morrison, Transit Grants & Project Manager of the City of Santa Maria

Why did SMRT choose Modeshift? 

Modeshift was the winning offer during the tender process due to its flexibility and its ability to provide all necessary user-facing features (POS terminals, smart cards and paper tickets) and the underlying infrastructure at a price that was unmatched by other participants. Modeshift also provided all the necessary deployment support and staff training to ensure the smooth and timely launch of the system. 

Features of the SMRT system 

  • Contactless Payments: Riders can easily purchase all fare products for both SMRT routes and BREEZE routes within the application.  
  • Electronic Validation: Users can redeem their fares by scanning a QR code at electronic validators installed on 35 buses across the city.  
  • Trip Planner Functionality: Information is integrated from vehicle location and dispatch systems so riders can easily plan their trip while on the go. 

With the SMRTpay app, all local college students are automatically sent a bus pass upon enrollment. The mobility aspect is being taken care of with just one click so that students can focus on their education.

Gamaliel Anguiano, general manager for Santa Maria Regional Transit

The results  

Less than half of the students attending Allan Hancock College own a car. Offering all students a free, mobile-accessible pass was a way to facilitate their daily travel and build a strong, eco-conscious community among them. Modeshift’s product not only improves mobility systems across the US but also helps cities reduce their carbon footprint and introducing the system in Santa Maria was a proof that younger audiences are more than willing to adopt an eco-friendlier alternative in the face of public transportation if it is easy and intuitive to use.