'Overwhelming' response to test GRT's new EasyGo fare card

Grand River transit is working on testing the soon-to-come EasyGO fare card that will work with GRT buses and the LRT. They asked for 100 volunteer beta testers and got applications from over 185 in less than one day.

Application is now closed after GRT received 185 applications in less than a day

Grand River Transit announced its new electronic smartcard would be called the EasyGo Fare Card. (Grand River Transit)

After an overwhelming response from bus riders in Waterloo region, Grand River Transit (GRT) had to close their application to be a beta tester for the upcoming EasyGO fare card.

On Jan. 25, GRT asked for 100 frequent bus riders to become a fare card beta tester. 

In less than a day, GRT received 185 applications. The application is now closed.

"We are really excited and happy that people are that into it and that interested in working with us," Gethyn Beniston, project manager for electronic fare systems for Waterloo region told CBC News. 

Recreating 'unusual situations'

Volunteer beta testers are tasked to use the EasyGO fare card for a month and provide GRT staff with feedback.

"If I have 100 people riding on buses, I'm going to recreate all of the unusual situations that I can't do here in the lab or in the garage," Beniston said.

"If there's some strange thing going on in our system that I haven't seen, these people hopefully will find it for us before we roll the system out further."

This beta testing is one of the last tests before GRT hopefully launches EasyGO in June, said Beniston.

However, not all the EasyGO fare card features will be available during beta testing. For example, beta testers will only be able to  reload the fare card at the Charles and Ainslie Street Terminals. 

All GRT buses have the new fare boxes installed and if all goes well, GRT will do a second beta test in March, where beta testers will be able to load their fare cards online. 

For this round of beta testing, GRT will notify chosen volunteers by Feb.19.