Portland, OR/USA

Innovative E-Fare System in Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area

When it comes to cutting-edge technology, Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) rises to the top as one of the most progressive agencies in the country. Perhaps that is why they chose INIT as their partner to supply and implement a regional, multi-media e-fare system in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.

Project at a glance


fixed route buses


on-demand vehicles




smart cards


proximity fare readers

The task

Implementing a state-of-the-art electronic fare system is challenging – even for innovators. The project required a solution that would seamlessly integrate with TriMet‘s ITS system and infrastructure, and have multi-client capability. This aspect was needed to provide access for other agencies to join the e-fare structure in the future. Another requirement included the necessity for a comprehensive back-office system that could define individual agency parameters, automate clearing of revenues and secure individual fare and revenue data.

Open Application Programming Interfaces (API) and third-party system integration were also critical to the success of the entire system. This component would help ease the challenging task of connecting the agency with retail partners and suppliers, and would provide passengers with outlets to purchase the media and utilize the new fare system. TriMet chose INIT for the e-fare project in the Portland-Vancouver region because INIT is the only ITS provider that combines the complete range of ITS requirements into one fully integrated system.

The solution

The scope of the TriMet-led e-fare project included the implementation of an open payments fare structure that allows regional ridership across three agencies and two states. Through a partnership with Google, TriMet launched the first in the world account-based, regional, virtual transit fare card within Google Pay. Riders can pay for fares using a contactless bank card, mobile wallet such as Android Pay, Apple Pay or Google Pay, as well as with a virtual smart card within Google Pay and Apple Wallet. TriMet, INIT, and moovel worked to enable this ground-breaking development. They simply tap their phone on any of the 1,100 INIT validators and hop on board the Portland Streetcar, C-TRAN buses, including The Vine, TriMet’s buses, MAX light rail and WES Commuter Rail.

INIT’s back-end processing software, MOBILEvario, serves as the core intelligence for the account-based and open payment fare system. It manages and processes fares in real-time, recognizes and processes revenue sharing, as well as manages accounts and automates reconciliations for all three agencies. Off-line processing is another added benefit of the INIT system. In the event of a network outage, fare payments can still be processed ensuring revenues are not lost.

Fare Capping

With the Hop system, TriMet instituted fare capping – a structure which automatically offers travelers the lowest possible fare for their journeys. Fare capping relieves the rider of having to figure out the “right” fare, provides peace of mind that they are not paying too much, and delivers incentive and accessibility to all passengers. Learn more about fare capping. 

Fare capping introduces an equity-based incentive to frequent transit use. It eliminates the burdensome upfront cost of purchasing monthly passes, replacing it with smart, hassle-free, pay-as-you-go infrastructure.

Rhyan Schaub,

Director of Fare Revenue and Administrative Services, TriMet

Contactless for Paratransit

In 2020, the Clark County Public Transit Benefit Area (C-TRAN) paratransit service, C-VAN, was added to the system, allowing riders to enjoy safer accessibility to transit through contactless tap-and-go fares. In the future, smaller surrounding agencies can be easily added to experience all the benefits of a best-in-class fare collection system without the high cost of setup or long-term project management.

We are excited to extend the benefits of the Hop Fastpass® to our paratransit customers. No-touch payments are safe, easy and efficient for everyone.

Shawn M. Donaghy,



  • Better operational management through integrated operations and fare management structure
  • More fare payment options through smart cards, mobile tickets, bank cards and NFC phones
  • Greater security and pricing equity for passengers
  • Incorporated functionality with driver terminals and fare processing

The conclusion

As TriMet continues to blaze new trails in public transit, the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area will reap the advantages. Riders will benefit from more convenience and pricing equity, as well as the opportunity to easily use contactless bank and smart cards, and mobile phones to pay fares. The result is a smoother and more economically managed transit network, increased mobility and better transportation services. As a result of the new e-fare project, TriMet is now the first US-based customer to benefit from a fully integrated operations management, real-time passenger information and e-fare system from INIT.

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Carl Commons

Chief Sales Officer



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