Sault Ste. Marie Transit Services partners with Cubic’s Umo Mobility Platform

Sault Ste. Marie Transit Services has finalized its contract with Cubic Transportation Systems (Cubic) to deliver the Umo mobility platform as its new transit fare collection system.

This partnership aims to improve access to public transit with the help of contactless fare technology. Umo facilitates this type of payment with smart cards and on mobile devices, including multi-ride tickets and pass products that are securely validated using QR code technology. 

The solution chosen by Sault Ste. Marie consists of the Umo SaaS platform, which includes new onboard bus mobile validators and new Canadian-made TAG fareboxes, a cash fare collection system. The joint Umo and TAG solution will help improve customer convenience while reducing agency operation and maintenance costs.

The service will be deployed to 39 vehicles in Sault Ste. Marie, including 26 conventional buses, two community buses and 11 paratransit buses. 

“We will put validators, the things that go on the pole that you tap the card to, and it’s really exciting because it’s the full kind of gamut,” said Matt Newsome, senior vice president and general manager of Cubic Americas. “You can use your phone, you can use barcodes, you can use a card, you can go to retail agents to do it. You can go to a website to do it. So it’s kind of that whole gamut. So we focus on all of the customer riders, helping those who may have less income, and eventually we’ll even have students.” 

“People are so excited to wait to move away from cash, but we have to realize that for some people that’s still their only means,” he added, noting that cash payment will remain an option available to passengers through the new TAG fareboxes.

Sault Ste. Marie’s transit fare collection system project is being funded through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), with contributions from the Canadian government, the Province of Ontario, and the Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

As well as the company’s Sault Ste. Marie announcement, Cubic has been making moves throughout the country.

Together with TransLink and Interac Corp., Cubic is working to integrate Interac Debit into the fare payment system in Vancouver, offering contactless payment options for riders. 

“In Vancouver, we’ve also launched open payments. You can just take your credit card, as long as it has that cool little wave symbol on the back, and you can tap that, or if you have your card loaded in your watch or your phone, you use your phone or your watch. And then we provide the services, we help with all of the data management, we provide the call centre, we do the card fulfillment and everything,” Newsome said.

Cubic is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its Umo platform launch by providing contactless and mobile fare payment services to 900 buses across 30 transit systems outside of Metro Vancouver as part of its contract with BC Transit. It will soon introduce this advanced payment technology to smaller towns around the major metropolis.

As of now, Cubic is still working with BC to eventually create a “regional interoperability system.” 

“Whether that would be through an app, through a phone, through a device, through a card, those kinds of discussions are starting now.”

In the greater Toronto area, Cubic is joining forces with McMaster University to launch the Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence and Smart Mobility. This centre will work to develop the next generation of diverse engineers, scientists and leaders to deliver the future of public transport.

Newsome noted that right now in the centre, the McMaster team is focusing on virtual reality work related to traffic data, while also looking at how Cubic can enhance its products.

For example, engineers are looking into how cars move on roads and at intersections, analyzing the traffic data and looking for ways to make the roads safer through technology. 

“How do we detect when cars are doing the wrong kind of manoeuvre? And the more and more we learn through AI the more and more we can start to predict, we can kind of figure and make traffic flow and move better. This then kind of makes the streets safer for pedestrians crossing, So that’s some really cool stuff in that area,” Newsome said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Samira Balsara
Samira Balsara
Samira is a writer for IT World Canada. She is currently pursuing a journalism degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formally known as Ryerson) and hopes to become a news anchor or write journalistic profiles. You can email her at sbalsara@itwc.ca

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