Students at virtually every college campus need to access public transit to navigate the campus, its surrounding community or simply get to class on time. It seems logical for the student ID card to also double as a transit ticket, but the issue isn’t so straightforward for campuses looking to provide this service to students.
The unfortunate reality is that the integration of transit functionality on campus cards has traditionally been a tall order. Despite there being some successes, industry representatives suggest there have been as many or more misses when it comes to finding a solution to the campus card transit integration. At least that was the prevailing message in 2015 at the time of our “Getting a lift with the student ID” piece.
For campus-operated transit systems or public transit systems offering unlimited ridership options for students, stickers adhered to cards, or simple visual verification of a campus card continue to function admirably. In many locations, however, these measures aren’t sufficient.
Metropolitan areas with large public transit systems rely on their own automated ticketing and fare collection systems to serve millions of riders each day. These systems frequently use a fare card with a specific ID technology that powers the system and facilitates the payment. Over the past decade, contactless has emerged as the technology of choice in cities like Chicago, New York, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Los Angeles…and the list goes on and on.
Though most agree that the marriage of the student ID and transit card is a great fit, the combination has proven a challenge. Technical, financial, logistical and political issues have all served to confound well-intentioned efforts.
For a comprehensive look at the transit challenge, check out our full “Getting a lift with the student ID.”