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Introducing Arc (Smart Fare), an electronic fare payment system for transit agencies in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.

Thank you to everyone who signed up to test the Arc electronic fare payment system. We continue to work toward the start of the pilot and will be following up with all successful applicants in the coming weeks on next steps.

Currently, a specific start date for the pilot has not been confirmed. If you submitted an application to be a volunteer, please continue to buy your fare product as you normally would ( tickets, passes, and so on).

Arc - The smart way to pay for and ride Transit

Arc is the name of the Edmonton region's smart fare product. It symbolizes creating a path between two points - much like how transit connects us to vital services, supports and each other. 

It is an account-based electronic fare payment system that will make paying for transit easier and more convenient in the greater Edmonton region. Transit users in Edmonton, St. Albert, Strathcona County, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Spruce Grove and Beaumont will all benefit from the same transit payment system when the program launches this fall for select fare groups.

The system includes an Arc card that can be tapped when entering and exiting buses and the LRT on all 7 participating transit systems. With Arc, money is stored on a secure online account, not on the card.

Specific program details about how Arc will work for different fare groups and individual customers will be available in late summer on a new website - There will also be a new Arc call centre to answer individual questions. Only high level-program information is available through 311 and regional transit customer service agents.

Pilot test starts summer 2021

We are ensuring that Arc is rolled out thoughtfully, and our phased approach is how we will get it right. It starts with a pilot test this summer using a selection of customers from the following groups: 

  • Adult regular fare users
  • U-Pass students
  • Transit staff across the region

This pilot will be conducted in Edmonton. St. Albert and Strathcona County.

The participants will pay for their transit rides by using an Arc card to tap on/off the bus or LRT, rather than using a regular monthly pass or paper tickets. We are testing the entire system to ensure it is operating correctly (for example, taps are being captured, fares are being calculated correctly, and Arc accounts are functioning properly). The test results will determine when the system is made available to a wider range of customers.

Project Timeline

Phase 1: starts fall 2021

The first group of customers included in the pilot test who are eligible and able to participate can purchase an Arc card in the fall. They will put money into an online Arc account that is linked to the Arc card, and then they tap on/tap off buses/LRT stations as they ride anywhere in all seven participating regions. 

Using Arc is voluntary and other customers can continue to pay for transit with monthly passes, paper tickets or cash.

Phase 2: launches in 2022

The Arc program will be expanded to include:

  • Seniors
  • Youth
  • Junior/senior high school students
  • Customers eligible for low income passes
  • Those who use DATS, and
  • Regional paratransit services

Initial participation will be voluntary. Exact timing depends on the results of the Phase 1 roll out.

Latest Project Information

Sign up to get the latest information on Smart Fare and when it's available for you.

How Arc works

  • Customers will be able to use an Arc card to tap on/off transit and pay a flat fee for their trip
  • A fare cap will ensure no customer will pay more than a maximum amount over a certain period
  • Money added to their online Arc account will be available immediately
  •  If customers lose their registered Arc card, they can transfer their account balance to a new card

The Arc Card Advantage

The advantage of using an Arc card is that, as long as customers tap off within the 90-minute travel window, the fare will count toward a daily or monthly cap. For example, in Phase 1, this cap is $100 monthly cap for a ETS regular adult fare user or $116 monthly cap for St. Albert regular adult commuter fare.

After a customer reaches their monthly cap, they will ride for free for the remainder of the day or month. This encourages customers to purchase and use an Arc card, and rewards frequent transit riders.

Arc Technology

Arc Card Readers

The Arc card readers are now installed on most participating transit agency buses and will be turned on this summer as part of the pilot test with select groups of customers. More customers will be able to tap on/tap off in the fall during Phase 1 of the program rollout.

Arc Card Vending Machines

Arc card vending machines are being installed at all LRT stations in Edmonton, and key regional transit transfer locations including:

These machines will be turned on for pilot testing in mid-summer and sell Arc cards/Arc tickets. Regular transit fare vending machines that sell paper passes/tickets will remain in operation alongside the Arc machines.

Fare Capping

Maximum payment limits will be placed on daily and monthly periods. This benefits frequent transit users. Different fare caps will be set for seniors, youths, and low income individuals in support of inclusiveness and affordability goals.

Customers will also no longer have to prepay a lump sum to receive the transit discounts associated with a monthly pass.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find an Arc card vending machine?

Arc Card Vending Machines are being installed throughout the LRT network in Edmonton and at key regional transit transfer locations (including Edmonton’s Kingsway Transit Centre, the Naki Transit Centre in St. Albert, the Bethel Transit Terminal in Strathcona County, and at the Edmonton International Airport). These machines are turned off and will not be activated until the Arc pilot begins later this summer. All locations are indictaed below:


Vending Machine Location

All LRT stations
Edmonton International Airport
Kingsway Transit Centre
Mill Woods Transit Centre
West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre

St. Albert Naki Transit Centre
Strathcona County Bethel Transit Terminal
Ordze Transit Centre
Fort Saskatchewan Dow Centennial Centre
How do the Arc Card vending machines work? How can we pay?

Customers will be able to use these vending machines to buy Arc cards, add money to their Arc account, check account balances, or purchase other products, like single-use Arc tickets. Customers will be able to pay with cash, credit or debit cards.

Where can I find an Arc card vendor?

A list of municipal locations and third-party vendors that sell Arc cards and Arc tickets will be available this fall on the website (in development).

What is an Arc ticket?

Arc tickets act like a temporary Arc card and are used in the same way. Customers will be able to purchase single-use Arc tickets, tap on and off buses and LRT and enjoy their ride. An Arc ticket serves the same purpose as a paper transit ticket.

Why did you choose the Arc name?

We did a lot of research to identify names that would encompass the purpose of our program and weren’t already in use. After we narrowed down the choices, we held public focus groups. Arc symbolizes forging a path between two points - much like how transit connects us to vital services, each other, and our region. An arc can literally be a continuous movement between points from A to Z. But it’s also a symbol of continuity, growth and momentum.

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