BC Transit Launches Umo Digital Fare Payments in the Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System

Nov 16, 2023
Transit System: Cowichan Valley

BC Transit launched the Umo (pronounced “you-mo”) electronic fare system in the Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System. Umo introduces contactless payment methods and new fare products that improve the transit experience by allowing riders to pick the best options for their lifestyle and travel habits.

New payment methods include the Umo Mobility app and a reloadable Umo card, both now accepted on Cowichan Valley local and interregional transit routes. The Umo Mobility app is free in the Apple App and Google Play stores. Once downloaded, riders create an account to purchase and manage their transit fare products. When ready to travel, riders open their app to display a dynamic QR code that serves as their fare product. As riders board the bus, they present their app’s QR code to a new onboard digital validator. The Umo app also provides riders with additional tools to help them plan their trip including real-time information and maps. Riders looking to get the most out of their transit experience can also use the app to create alerts that will inform them when they are nearing their stop while travelling and if their fare product is running low on funds or nearing its expiration date.

Riders also have the choice of using a reloadable Umo card. A Umo card can be picked up for free from a BC Transit Umo vendor. The card is designed for continued use and can be continually topped up with fare products through a vendor, online at ca.umopass.com, or through Umo’s customer service call centre at 877-380-8181. When boarding the bus, riders tap their card at the new onboard validator. While not required for use, riders are recommended to register their card by creating a Umo account online or through the Umo customer service call centre using the unique number on the back of their card. Registering a Umo card will safeguard fare products in the event their card is misplaced. BC Transit Umo fare vendors in the Cowichan Valley can be found at bctransit.com/cowichan-valley/fares/wheretobuy.

Umo’s arrival introduces changes and improvements to some of the fare products riders use with the introduction of the 30-Day Pass and Cash Balance fare products. The 30-Day Pass replacing the existing Monthly Pass, can be activated anytime providing riders with unlimited transit trips during a continuous 30-day period. The exact date for the removal of the existing Monthly Pass is still to be confirmed but BC Transit plans to provide riders several months to transition to a new Umo payment method. Cash Balance, an alternative to cash and tickets, is a pre-paid dollar amount loaded to the Umo app or reloadable card, which riders draw from as additional trips are taken. While it is expected most riders will find one of Umo’s new payment methods a more convenient option, cash will continue to be accepted for those who prefer to use it.

The popular DayPASS fare product also sees improvements with Umo’s arrival through an increase in the number of ways riders can access it and by lowering a rider’s commitment to purchasing it. Riders paying with a Cash Balance fare product will have their fare capped and automatically converted to a DayPASS after payment on their second trip of the day within the local transit system. This means regardless of a rider’s chosen Umo payment method, a rider will never pay more than two times the value of a cash fare for unlimited daily travel within the Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System. A rider will know a DayPASS has been applied to their payment method by referencing a confirmation message on the onboard validator’s digital screen.

At a future date, BC Transit plans to provincially enable onboard payments with debit and credit cards. These additional payment methods will provide wider access to transit, perfect for riders who utilize transit services occasionally. Both debit and credit cards will benefit from the same fare-capping policy that the mobile app and reloadable card riders receive.

BC Transit’s Umo customer service call centre is live for support. Riders can call 877-380-8181 toll-free from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday – Friday and 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to speak to a dedicated BC Transit Umo expert and have their questions answered or receive support. For more information on Umo, including video tutorials, frequently asked questions, please visit bctransit.com/umo

Media Contacts
BC Transit Communications