The SJCOG’s contactless transit fare payment service wins national award


The San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) last week received a prestigious National Association of Regional Councils Achievement Award for its EZHub, a cashless mobile ticketing and fare payment system in the Vamos Mobility trip planning app. It’s an EZ way to plan, pay, and ride transit in San Joaquin County.

EZHub, created in partnership with fare payments-as-a-service developer Masabi LLC, was launched November 2020 and is used by seven transit operators in San Joaquin County. It allows users to plan trips across all seven transit networks and pay fares via a smartphone. It provides a contactless payment option and allows for ticket promotions, stored value accounts, and future possibilities to expand for carsharing reservations.

“We wanted to give riders a one-stop shop for effortless trip planning and fare payment that could be used throughout the region,” said SJCOG Executive Director Diane Nguyen. “This award really highlights the many innovations possible with mobile technology. We graciously accept the NARC award on behalf of SJCOG and the seven transit operators that collaborated on finding better ways to serve transit customers.”

SJCOG is setting an example of what can be done elsewhere.

“SJCOG has created a vision of what public transit should aspire to be in the coming years, using technology to make it more discoverable, accessible and equitable,” said Brian Zanghi, CEO of Masabi. “We’re delighted to play a part in this ground-breaking regional project bringing the benefits of contactless technology to riders of all the agencies involved and look forward to its continued growth and evolution.”

Public transit riders using San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD), Manteca Transit, Tracy Tracer, Escalon eTrans, Altamont Corridor Express, Lodi GrapeLine, and Ripon Blossom Express can use EZHub to purchase tickets via the Vamos Mobility app and ride across the networks of all seven transit operators. This covers the regional bus and rail transit services throughout San Joaquin County and local bus transit service in the cities of Stockton, Lodi, Manteca, Ripon, Tracy and Escalon.

SJCOG and the region’s seven transit operators in late 2018 began work to integrate fares to make it easier for residents throughout San Joaquin County to use clean, safe and affordable transportation.

After much research, SJCOG partnered with Masabi LLC to merge fare payment system EZHub with the existing Vamos Mobility app. The Vamos Mobility app is a trip planning application that SJCOG helped to develop in partnership with transit operators from San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties, the Stanislaus Council of Governments, UC Davis’ Institute of Transportation Studies, and the California Air Resources Board. Vamos was launched in spring 2019 and EZHub launched in November 2020, greatly enhancing its use.

The award was presented at a special virtual awards session during the 55th annual NARC Conference and Exhibition. NARC advocates for regional cooperation as the best way of tackling a broad range of community planning and development issues. NARC has represented its members for more than 50 years to advance regional cooperation through effective outreach and advocacy in Congress, with federal officials, and other organizations. This is the second national recognition SJCOG has received from NARC. The first was in the early 2000s for the Multi-Species Habitat Conservation and Open Space Plan. Visit the NARC website for more information.