Contactless Fare Payment

Tap to ride with Visa

Redwood Coast Transit Authority (RCTA) has introduced contactless fare payment technology on its buses.

Visa and Mastercard contactless-enabled bank cards and mobile wallets (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Fitbit Pay) are accepted.

Cash and monthly passes are still accepted as well.

To tap to ride using the same method of contactless payment on each trip:

  • Local routes 1, 2, 3, & 4: Tap the payment reader as you board the bus, then exit the bus normally (no need to tap again).
  • For routes 20 and 199: Tap the payment reader as you board the bus, and tap it again as you exit. Your fare will be calculated based on the distance you travel. Ensure you use the same contactless payment method for tapping on and off the bus.

If traveling in a group, each rider must pay their fare separately. Don’t use the same contactless payment method for multiple riders.

Contactless payments are safe and secure.

Video about Tap to Ride Contactless Fare Payment

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where can I tap to ride?

Contactless payments are now accepted onboard all RCTA buses. No need to purchase a pass or pay with exact change. Simply tap your contactless-enabled bank card or mobile wallet on the payment reader as you board the bus.

What type of payment methods are accepted on RCTA’s contactless payment system?

RCTA currently accepts Visa and Mastercard contactless-enabled bank cards and mobile wallets aboard all buses. At this time, accepted mobile wallets include: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay , and Fitbit Pay.

How do I know if I have a contactless-enabled bank card?

Cards that are contactless-enabled have the following symbol (on the front or the back) of them:

Visa card with contactless-enabled symbol on it.

Many banks and financial institutions have switched to contactless cards to make payments safer, faster, and more secure for their customers. Check with your card issuer if you are unsure if your card is contactless-enabled.

Suppose you do not have a contactless card. In that case, you can also link an existing bank card to your payment-enabled device—or you can request a contactless card from one of the companies that offer free contactless prepaid debit cards, including Cash Card and Venmo Card.

Can I still ride RCTA if I do not have a contactless-enabled card or a payment-enabled device?

Yes. You can still pay for your fare with cash or a monthly bus pass.

Can I still use cash?

Yes. You can still use cash to ride RCTA or to purchase monthly passes.

Contactless Payments in Action

How do I use my contactless-enabled bank card or payment-enabled device to ride RCTA?

Look for the contactless symbol on RCTA readers as you board:

Simply tap your contactless-enabled bank card or payment-enabled device below the screen on the contactless symbol to pay your fare and wait for the green “GO!” screen.

What are payment readers?

Photo of driver accepting contactless pay for fare.Contactless payment readers are the face of RCTA’s new contactless fare payment system. The readers serve as point-of-sale terminals, allowing you to pay your fare and begin your ride instantly. They are located as you board at the front entrance of the bus and look like this:

Why doesn’t my contactless-enabled bank card work?

If your contactless-enabled bank card is not working, it may be due to one of the following reasons:

  • Your card issuer has declined payment. Please check with your card issuer.
  • Your card may be damaged or expired. If this happens, you’ll need to get your card reissued by contacting your card issuer.
  • Your card type, e.g., American Express, Discover, and other card brands, is not accepted. Visa and Mastercard are accepted at this time.

Fares: How Calculated and Charged

What will I be charged?

Fares paid via contactless payment will cost less than traditional fares.

  • Local routes 1, 2, 3, and 4 require a single tap and, during our promotional period, will cost $1.
  • Regional routes 20 and 199 are distanced-based, requiring riders to tap on as they board and tap off as they alight. During the promotional period, riders who tap on and off will be charged $1 for their ride, and those who forget will be charged $2.
  • One-way fare: $1. Whether you tap to pay with a contactless card or your smart device, you will be charged $1 for a one-way fare when you tap the payment reader as you board the bus (this is a $0.25 savings compared to the cash fare or pass fare on our local routes and variable savings between $1 and $9 for our regional routes).

Please note no other discount fares are available using contactless payment at this time. You can still pay the discounted fare as you board the bus, but you must use cash.

What if I transfer from one bus to another and pay with contactless payment?

There is no fee for transferring between buses on our local routes 1, 2, 3, and 4 within 2 hours (120 minutes) of your first tap on a payment reader; however, you must tap your payment method every time you board the bus.

To take advantage of free transfers, always use the same payment method to tap on for your trip. For example: Don’t use your iPhone to tap on for your first journey and then tap on with your Apple Watch for your second journey. Even though the same bank card may be linked via both devices, you will be charged as if you are beginning a new trip and will lose the benefit of the free transfer.

If you would like more information on fares, please get in touch with RCTA Customer Service at 707-464-6400.

How do charges appear on my card statement?

Your fare is calculated automatically based on the number of trips taken in a day and charged to your card’s account like a standard credit or debit card transaction with the description “Redwood Coast Transit Authority.” To view your recent rides on RCTA and see what you were charged, visit RCTA’s Customer Transactions Inquiry Page at or check your bank card statement.

Is paying via a contactless-enabled bank card or payment-enabled device secure?

Yes. Tap-to-pay transactions are processed through the same secure networks as all other Visa and Mastercard transactions. Contactless cards are built on secure EMV® Chip technology, effectively reducing counterfeit fraud. Like inserting your card, each EMV® Contactless transaction delivers a dynamic, one-time code to the payment reader that protects payment information and authorizes the transaction with a single tap.

Will my information be kept private?

RCTA or any third-party agent never stores, sells, or gives away personal data. RCTA’s customer service representatives cannot access full credit card account numbers. Customer service representatives will answer customer support queries in accordance with PCI (Payment Card Industry) practices.

Does my card issuer see my travel history?

No. Just like your card issuer does not see what you order from a coffee shop, the issuer will only see the transaction amount.

Will I be charged a service fee for using my contactless payment method to ride on RCTA?

No, there are no additional fees to use contactless-enabled payment methods.

Can I pay for more than one person using one contactless payment method?

No. At this time, each rider must pay with their own contactless-enabled bank card or payment-enabled device.

Do I always have to use the same payment method during my trips?

Yes, you must use the same payment method throughout your trips to qualify for free transfers between our local bus routes (within 120 minutes of first tapping on a reader).

Will cash payments and monthly passes be phased out?

No, cash payments and monthly passes will continue to be available as another form of payment for fares.

Are discounted fares available with contactless payment?

Not yet. We are working on a simple, digitized verification program that will enable riders to apply for and receive fare discounts—such as for older adults and veterans—when that program is ready. You can still pay the discounted fare when you board an RCTA vehicle, but you must use cash.

Can I use my transit benefit card with contactless payment?

If your transit benefit provider has issued you a contactless credit, debit, or reloadable prepaid card, you should be able to use that card at an RCTA payment reader. Please get in touch with your transit benefit provider for more information about contactless card capabilities and to determine if their products can also be supported in payment-enabled devices.

Troubleshooting Issues

What can I do if the payment reader does not accept my payment?

If you tap your contactless card or payment-enabled device and the payment reader indicates that the payment was not accepted, you must use another payment method to pay for your ride. Your payment may not be accepted for a few reasons:

  • Your payment method may have been blocked if we have not received payment for a prior fare. Until payment is received for that fare, that payment method will remain blocked, even if you use other payment methods in the meantime
  • Your bank has declined your payment method
  • Your card or smart device is damaged
  • Your card is not contactless-enabled
  • You may not have enough funds

To resolve an issue with your card, please get in touch with your bank. In the meantime, you can use another Visa or Mastercard, including a card in your mobile wallet. If you are having trouble with your payment-enabled device, you may need to remove the card from your device and add it back in.

How can I get my blocked payment method accepted again?

Once you have resolved the issue with your payment method, please call RCTA Customer Service at 707-464-6400. Once the issue is resolved, it can take up to 15 minutes before you can continue to use the same payment method at RCTA payment readers.

What is “card clash”?

Card clash happens when multiple payment methods touch the reader simultaneously, such as a physical wallet with several contactless bank cards inside. The payment reader may deduct the fare from the wrong bank card/device as it reads the first payment method it comes in contact with—or it will not read either card. It is recommended you present one payment method when paying your fare.

Note: If you are paying for someone traveling with you, you will need to use a different card or device for each person.

How do I apply for a refund?

If you suspect you have been charged more than once or have not been charged the correct fare, please get in touch with RCTA Customer Service at 707-464-6400.

How do I dispute a charge?

If you did not authorize a charge or believe that you have been charged incorrectly, you can dispute a charge by speaking with RCTA Customer Service at 707-464-6400.

What if my payment method is lost or stolen?

If your card is lost or stolen, contact your bank first to ensure that your card is canceled and to prevent unauthorized transactions.

If your card is subsequently found, and your bank did not cancel it, you may continue using it.

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