Deciding how much money to spend on a transit pass can be challenging. Riders plan their routes in advance, consider how many trips they may need and weigh the most cost-effective fare purchase options. For some customers, it can mean deciding based on what they are able to afford right now even though it may be a choice that costs them more in the long-term.

How many connecting routes will you have to plan to get to your destination? Would a day pass or a 7-day pass be a better choice? Do you have the funds available to pay for a 31-day pass up front? What if you don’t use public transit as much as you had predicted that week, but you already bought a 7-day pass?

These factors come into play as a hindrance for many who rely on public transit or a discouragement for those who might have wanted to try taking the bus for the first time. As a business owner, you want public transportation to be cost effective and easy to use so that employees can have a reliable ride to work and customers without cars can reach you. This is especially true in the Central Texas community where parking is scarce and expensive.

The game-changing solution to this problem is the monumental impact of fare capping technology. Fare capping takes the guess work out of the hands of individual riders to ensure that they never pay for more than what they need, while supporting those most at-need who may regularly end up paying more to ride transit because they cannot afford the upfront cost of discounted 31-day passes.

Fare Capping Programs

Fare capping – a popular strategy seen in the largest transit agencies across the world and recently adopted by CapMetro – demystifies public transit use by removing the burden from riders to figure out what type of fare will meet their needs. Instead, fare capping programs create a pay-as-you-go experience for riders by tracking their rides and automatically stopping charges once they’ve hit the amount equal to the transit agency’s discounted fare options – whether that be a day pass or a 31-day pass. Riders can just hop on a bus or train, tap their phone to the scanner, take a seat and know they’re getting the best price without having to decide what type of ticket to purchase ahead of time.

Fare capping in the United States is a strong new movement, with about 21 of the largest 101 agencies in the country taking part in a fare capping program as of 2021 – the New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Nashville’s WeGo Public Transit both instated fare capping programs in 2022, and the L.A. Metro followed suit in July of this year.

Fare capping is an essential part of making public transit more equitable and accessible as an economic engine of the city. It does so by equalizing fare costs for those who do not have the funds to front the cost of discounted monthly passes, supporting the workforce with more ease of access to and from work and connecting businesses with the community by incentivizing riders to take more trips for their shopping and errands.

CapMetro’s New AMP Card

Fare capping is made effortless with CapMetro’s new and free AMP card, which keeps track of it all without the rider having to do any of the mental gymnastics that come with planning their transit pass purchases to maximize cost-effectiveness. With AMP, fares are capped after a rider has spent the equivalent of the cost of a day pass during a service day, or the equivalent of a 31-day pass each calendar month.

Equity is at the forefront of CapMetro’s new AMP card. On top of equalizing fare costs for those who cannot afford the 31-day pass, the AMP card runs in tandem with CapMetro’s already existing reduced fares and the Equifare program. Those who qualify for the reduced fares or Equifare can get additional discounts on fare pricing along with the benefits of fare capping while using the AMP card.

The AMP card comes in both a virtual version that can be accessed through the CapMetro app and a physical card that can be picked up at CapMetro’s Transit Store and supporting retailers. It's best to pick one preferred method to use the AMP card – either virtual or physical – because each method separately keeps track of rides and balances.

Fare capping programs like CapMetro’s serve our community by making transit both more equitable and seamless to use.

By allowing a pay-as-you-go method, public transit becomes more accessible to those who may not be able to front the more expensive – though more cost effective – 31-day passes. It also creates a more flexible and easy transit experience that takes much of the thinking process of fare planning out of the hands of individual riders. This gives people more time and incentive to ride public transit to shop, run errands or get to and from work. Why not take advantage of the ease of public transit instead of fighting for a parking spot? The AMP card makes that decision a no-brainer.

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