Imperial Valley Transit riders could enjoy the convenience of electronic fares this fall should the Imperial County Transportation Commission approve high-tech payment alternatives.
At the July 25 commission meeting directors were scheduled to consider implementing an app for riders to put on smart phones so destination tickets appear on their screen and they may avoid needing exact cash fare. The meeting was held after this newspaper’s weekly deadline.
"We're not eliminating cash service, but we're looking to bring technology into the ICTC operation since a lot of other California transportation agencies already adopted it," said Kathi Williams, commission program manager.
The commission is still investigating which routes and what times are most suitable in order to make the new payment system cost-effective and user friendly. Implementation still requires further dialogue among board members and further direction was pending.
There will be no additional fee to access the app, though that would not exclude charges an individual's credit card issuer may require.
"We're hoping for the next 30 to 45 days determine whether to launch a pilot program," said Williams.
Among other transportation matters, as part of the Calexico West Port of Entry expansion State Route 98 and Cesar Chavez Boulevard in Calexico are being widened. The California Transportation Commission approved the infrastructure funds earlier in 2018.
The California Department of Transportation work on SR-98 between V.V. Williams and Ollie Avenue was completed in the spring. Caltrans is now focused on a second segment of SR-98 between Rockwood and Ollie avenues and is in the design and right-of-way phase, noted Mark Baza, county transportation commission executive director.
The Calexico East Commercial Port of Entry expansion planned to include bridge expansion, commercial vehicle primary inspection booths and road construction is estimated at $65 million and is still contingent upon receiving state funding and federal funding, added Baza.
"A $3-million award was provided to carry out environmental approval and preliminary engineering reports." said Baza. "The process should start in the fall of 2019. We're also waiting on a federal grant to complete the project."
Also, work also could begin in the fall on a Calexico Intermodal Transportation Center. The commission is in the process of completing a contract award for the consulting firm to do an environmental and design-phase review.
It is expected an award for the intermodal design will be announced at the commission’s August meeting. The mobility hub will accommodate bus bays as well and Calexico's private transit operators, including taxis and farm-labor buses.