Potential Updates to Fare Programs
CapMetro wants to make our fares more equitable. We know that low-income customers, who depend on our services the most, tend to pay for their transit passes one trip at a time instead of taking advantage of the savings that come with day or monthly passes.
To bring those savings to more of our customers, we are recommending two potential fare changes that will require board approval: fare capping and an additional discounted fare category. Fare capping and Equifare would help protect affordability for low-income customers should CapMetro ever raise overall fare prices. We’ll accomplish this through an updated fare payment system built into a new CapMetro App and a physical smart card.
Update: July 30
The CapMetro board approved both fare capping and Equifare programs on July 29. The board presentation included a summary of the Title VI analysis (see below) and of the community response to that analysis, along with public input received on the proposed changes in fare programs.
We are now entering the pilot phase where internal and community stakeholders will support implementation by testing technology and enrollment to ensure for a smooth rollout early next year.
Once Amp account registration is made available and we’ve begun distribution of Amp cards to the public, CapMetro’s Community Engagement team will perform extensive community outreach including in-person events, community partnerships and street team activations to sign up customers on the spot.
View the Presentation
View a recent Community Info Session below to learn more about the proposed fare programs
Or, review the presentation slides for yourself by clicking below:
Review Community Feedback
During the education and engagement period, we sought community feedback to help us develop best practices to reduce barriers for the roll out of the proposed fare programs, including:
- Account enrollment
- Eligibility considerations for Equifare
- Technology and accessibility considerations
- Implementation and engagement opportunities
- Partner programs and community organizations
- Ways to reduce community impact
All of the responses were included in the engagement summary presented to the CapMetro board on July 29. We appreciate the feedback contributed over the last several months.
Fare Program Overview
New Account-Based Fare System
To access the new fare programs outlined below, customers will use an Amp account in the form of either a physical smart card or new version of the CapMetro App. Amp technology tracks rides to provide customers with the money-saving benefits of our new fare programs.
By loading stored value to their Amp account, either via cash or card, customers will be able to tap their Amp card or scan their phone to pay a fare. Cash value may be added at the Transit Store or at any of 250+ participating retailer locations (including 7-11, Walgreens, CVS, Family Dollar and Dollar General).
With fare capping, customers using Amp never pay more than the total cost of a Day Pass in a calendar day, or the total cost of a monthly pass in a calendar month. It allows customers to pay for one trip at a time and still receive the savings of a Day Pass or monthly pass.
Amp tracks how many single rides you pay for to give you a Daily or Monthly Cap.
Daily Cap: When you pay for 2 single rides in one day, you earn a Daily Cap and ride free the rest of the day. Your daily spending is capped at $2.50 total!
Monthly Cap: When you pay for 33 single rides in a calendar month, you earn a Monthly Cap, and ride free the rest of the month. Your monthly spending is capped at $41.25 total and you may ride free up to 14 days per calendar month.
Equifare - A New Discounted Fare Rate
CapMetro currently provides two fare types: Standard and Reduced Fares. We are proposing a new, additional discounted fare type called Equifare, similar to programs already being used in Dallas and Portland.
Customers must meet income-eligibility requirements for the Equifare rate. Customers whose household income limit falls below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level or who are already enrolled in similar social assistance programs including:
- Medicaid Program
- Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP)
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)
- Telephone Lifeline Program
- Travis County Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)
- Medical Access Program (MAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH)
- City of Austin Utilities Customer Assistant Program (CAP)
- Travis County Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP)
|CURRENT FARE TYPES||PROPOSED*|
|Local Bus||Single Ride||$1.25||$0.60||$1.00|
Bus + Rail
* Proposed rates are being used to perform a Title VI analysis.
Title VI Analysis
We believe this new fare category will increase equity in our community. In addition to comprehensive community engagement efforts seeking input on eligibility requirements, CapMetro conducted a federally required Title VI analysis to understand how fare capping and Equifare could affect communities of color and low-income population
Four Nines Technology conducted analysis to determine whether discriminatory impacts to minority or low-income populations would be caused by changes to:
- Fare products
- Media distribution
- Other associated elements
Upon completing their analysis, Four Nines Technology uncovered no Title VI Equity impacts.
Average Fare Analysis Finding: The systemwide change resulted in less than 1% difference between minority and non-minority customers, and between low-income and non-low-income riders (within the 2% of the CapMetro threshold)
Retail Access Analysis Findings: The proposed reload locations are expected to benefit minority and low-income customers to a greater degree than non-minority and non-low-income customers. Not impacted by private retailer’s decision to not participate in CapMetro distribution
Fare capping allows you to get the savings of a Day Pass or monthly pass without paying the cost upfront. Every time you ride CapMetro, use an Amp account to pay for that trip. Here's how it works for MetroBus:
- After purchasing 2 Single Rides in one day, you earn a Daily Cap and ride free the rest of the day.
- After you pay for 33 trips in one month, you earn a Monthly Cap and ride free until the first of the next month.
Yes, each customer with an Amp account can receive fare capping.
This is still being determined, though CapMetro is recommending using the same eligibility requirements used by the city of Austin's Customer Assistance Program, which states that customers must have a household income less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level or indicate proof of enrollment in one of the qualifying assistance programs.
Yes, cash will still be accepted. Cash may also be loaded on to the customer’s Amp account at 250+ retail locations.
Amp accounts give our customers the most secure, convenient and affordable way to pay for CapMetro.
- Unlike a pre-paid transit pass, if you lose your physical Amp card then your account balance can be protected until you receive a replacement card. Or, you can transfer your balance to the Amp digital wallet on your smart phone.
- You can check and re-load your account balance online or on your phone.
- Fare capping is only available for customers with an Amp smart card or an Amp account on the CapMetro app.
Yes, there is no requirement to register your physical Amp card. You can load it with cash at 250+ retail locations, and use the card to pay for CapMetro bus and train trips. However, you must register your card to receive the Equifare rate (once qualified).
No, it is not required, but we do recommend creating and using an Amp account. The only way to use fare capping is to have an Amp card or Amp account on your CapMetro App.
The technology may be ready to release to customers by late summer or early fall 2022. Interested customers can sign up to receive news through MetroAlerts.
Customers who qualify for both Reduced Fare and Equifare rates would be offered the Reduced Fare price since it is the lower rate.