SARTA debuting tap-to-pay SCORE card

July 13, 2022

CANTON – A reloadable, tap-to-pay card will be available starting Wednesday from the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority.

SARTA is hosting a kickoff event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Cornerstone Transit Center to introduce the SCORE (Secure, Convenient, Orderly, Reloadable and Economical) card.

CEO Kirt Conrad said the mobile app-based EZFare and cash payments will continue to be accepted, but the plastic SCORE card and future TouchDown card likely will replace magnetic stripe paper tickets by the end of the year.

“The SCORE card is more of a permanent one that you can use month after month and you can have an account on, where the Touch Down card is more of a limited one-time or 10 ride ticket kind of thing,” he said.

The problem with the paper tickets, Conrad said, is their tendency to get stuck in the fare boxes.

“We’ve been looking for a solution to the problem to kind of eliminate that,” he said. “As more and more people use cash less and less, the industry’s kind of been going to this smart card technology.”

Penny Waechter, of Canton, talks about a new SARTA SCORE card, a tap-to-pay card that debuts Wednesday.

Canton resident Penny Waechter currently uses SARTA’s monthly paper passes, which get worn over time, and is interested in the new card.

“I think it’d be a wonderful idea,” she said while waiting on a bus at the Cornerstone Transit Center.

Alliance resident Neino Ingran also uses paper tickets and wasn’t aware of the SCORE card details.

“That would be something I’m interested in,” he said.

SARTA rider Neino Ingram, of Alliance, talks about the new SCORE card, a tap-to-pay card that debuts Wednesday.

Sheila Fisher was less enthusiastic and said she wasn’t interested in the new card but appreciates SARTA. “They take me everywhere,” Fisher said.

Latrice Virola, SARTA’s director of customer relations, said upcoming outreach efforts will attempt to explain the SCORE card and how riders might save money in the long run. Riders can pay less for a trip with a transfer, which is embedded on the card, rather than pay more for separate trips with cash.

“I think it’s going to be really good,” Virola said.

Conrad said another benefit of smart cards is the ability to transfer the balance of a lost card to another card because of the connected account.

SCORE cards can be purchased and reloaded at or at transit centers. The Touch Down cards are expected to be introduced in the near future.