As of Monday July 12, Big Blue Bus stopped accepting cash and tokens as payment, requiring a TAP card or mobile ticket instead.

The change is part of a pilot program for contactless only fare payments. Not only is contactless payment safer, but Big Blue Bus hopes the elimination of cash will make boarding more efficient.

In a June 18 press release, Big Blue Bus said, “The pilot program will study the effectiveness of contactless payments, including making buses safer for both customers and Motor Coach Operators, faster boarding times, and offering more convenient and economical ways for customers to pay their fare.”

Passengers can buy a TAP card via the TAP app or at any of the TAP Vending Machines (TVM) at Metro rail stations, or download a mobile ticket via the Transit or Token Transit apps.

To help facilitate the transition, Big Blue Bus is offering a free 30 Day pass on TAP or mobile ticket. Customers can get the pass through the Transit mobile app or get at the Transit store in Downtown Santa Monica. The pass must be redeemed by Thursday July 22.

To aid the launch of the pilot program, Blue: The Transit Store is open for increased hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. every other Friday.

Single Ride discounts for TAP and mobile ticket users will continue during the pilot period. Fees remain at $1 per trip and $0.40 for senior, disabled, and medicare customers.

Sofia Laurel Pirri, SMDP Intern