Big Blue Bus is switching to contactless fare payments this summer! This means that customers will soon be required to pay for rides with TAP or a mobile ticket, instead of cash and tokens.
Contactless is the safer, faster, and more convenient way to pay your fare. And to get you rolling on Big Blue Bus without cash, we're giving you a FREE 30 Day pass on TAP or mobile ticket! That's 30 days of unlimited rides on Big Blue Bus for free, when you say goodbye to cash and commit to going contactless.
Aprenda en español cómo dejar de pagar con efectivo y obtenga su pase de 30 días gratis.
How to get your free 30 Day pass:
There are two (2) easy ways to get your free pass and quit paying with cash on board:
1. Download Transit to get the pass now on your Apple or Android smartphone.
Get a FREE 30 Day pass for your first mobile purchase. Follow the instructions below.
The big picture: the pass will first show as $50. You need to create your account, exit, and start again to access your FREE pass.
- Open Transit and tap "Buy ticket."
- The cost of a Regular 30 Day pass will initially show as $50.00. That’s normal!
- Tap the pass and follow the instructions to create or sign in to your Transit account.
- Once you’re signed in, exit the purchase flow by tapping X in the top right corner.
- Tap “Buy ticket” again. If you haven’t made a purchase before, the 30 Day pass will show as FREE.
- Complete the purchase flow (you won’t be charged).
- When you're ready to ride, activate the pass and show it to the driver as you board the bus. That's it - your ride is on us for the next 30 days!
New to Transit? To learn how to pay your Big Blue Bus fare with a mobile ticket at: bigbluebus.com/contactless.
— OR —
2. Visit Blue: The Transit Store to get your pass on TAP.
We're located at 1444 4th St. in Downtown Santa Monica! Stop by during business hours to pick up your free TAP card and 30 Day pass. You'll be ready to tap away on Big Blue Bus for the next 30 days immediately after!
Haven't used TAP before? Find out how to pay your Big Blue Bus fare with a TAP card at: bigbluebus.com/contactless.
Need help deciding which contactless option is best for you?
Let's talk about it! Make an appointment to see us at Blue: The Transit Store. We'll explain how contactless payments work on Big Blue Bus, and help you get on your way without cash. Schedule your appointment now at: santamonica.gov/appointment.
Book an appointment
Get free rides every month, when you sign up for the LIFE program!
LA County residents may be eligible to receive 20 free rides on Big Blue Bus every month, through the Low-Income Fare is Easy (LIFE) program. The LIFE program provides fare subsidies to low-income individuals that may be applied toward (1) the purchase of passes on Big Blue Bus (or any LIFE-participating transit agency), or (2) a free 20-Ride Regional Pass on TAP.
To learn more about the LIFE program, including eligibility and how to apply, visit: bigbluebus.com/life
Still have questions?
We've got answers! Check out our frequently asked questions below. You can also give us a call at (310) 451-5444, or make an appointment for in-person assistance at Blue: The Transit Store.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is Big Blue Bus giving me a free 30 Day pass?
We’re going contactless this summer, as part of a short-term pilot to help us study the benefits of a cashless system. By temporarily eliminating cash and token payments on board, we aim to make our buses safer and more hygienic for customers and staff – reducing the spread of infectious disease caused by bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.
We also hope to move riders more efficiently on our system, by greatly reducing the amount of time they spend paying their fare on board.
We’re offering you a free 30 Day pass to help you make the switch to contactless fares, and permanently stop using cash on Big Blue Bus.
2. What is TAP?
TAP eliminates the burden of carrying exact change, by offering a single, durable and reusable card that works as your transit pass. TAP cards are secure and smart, and can be loaded with Stored Value (which is accepted on most transit agencies in LA County) or a Big Blue Bus pass, for seamless travel throughout the region.
To learn more about riding Big Blue Bus with TAP, visit: bigbluebus.com/contactless.
3. What is a Mobile Ticket?
A mobile ticket is a digital pass that can be purchased and activated using the Transit app on your smartphone. Mobile tickets can be used to ride Big Blue Bus immediately, or stored in the app for later use. Mobile tickets are only valid on Big Blue Bus, and cannot be used to ride another transit agency.
To learn more about riding Big Blue Bus with mobile tickets, visit: bigbluebus.com/contactless.
4. Can I use my free pass on other transit agencies, like LA Metro, Culver CityBus, or Foothill Transit?
No. The 30 Day pass is only valid on Big Blue Bus, and cannot be used to ride another transit agency.
5. How long do I have to redeem my free 30 Day pass? Does it expire?
Customers may redeem one (1) free Big Blue Bus 30 Day pass during the promotional period, which begins at midnight on Monday, April 19 and ends at 11:59am on Thursday, July 22. Once redeemed, the pass will remain valid until you’re ready to ride! The pass is activated at the time of first use on Big Blue Bus, and expires at 1:00am PT on the 31st day thereafter.
Note: The terms and conditions of this promotional offer are subject to change without notice.
6. I’m a Youth or Senior/Disabled/Medicare (S/D/M) customer. Do I still qualify for the free 30 Day pass?
Yes. Youth and S/D/M customers qualify for one (1) free Big Blue Bus 30 Day pass. If you wish to redeem the free pass on TAP, but do not yet have a Reduced Fare TAP Card, please visit Blue: The Transit Store to receive the pass on a Regular TAP Card.
Alternatively, if you wish to redeem the free pass in Transit, but have not yet verified your eligibility to purchase reduced fare mobile tickets, you must choose Regular as your fare type in the app, and follow the instructions above to redeem your pass.
Note: To receive discounted fares on Big Blue Bus for future trips, you may either apply for a Reduced Fare TAP Card (valid on any TAP-participating transit agency in LA County), or visit Blue: The Transit Store to verify your eligibility for discounted mobile tickets in Transit.
7. Can I still use cash to pay for Big Blue Bus rides off the bus?
Yes. You can still use cash to buy and load Stored Value at hundreds of TAP vendor locations throughout LA County. To view a map of TAP vendor locations in our service area, visit: bigbluebus.com/getapass.
For a complete list of TAP vendors locations in LA County, visit: taptogo.net/vendors.
8. I’m new to contactless fares and don’t understand how it works. Can you help me?
Absolutely! Read more about how contactless fares work on Big Blue Bus at: bigbluebus.com/contactless. You can also make an appointment for in-person assistance at Blue: The Transit Store (1444 4th St., Santa Monica).
9. How is Big Blue Bus protecting the health and safety of customers?
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Big Blue Bus has implemented changes to how you ride, including more rigorous cleaning procedures, mandatory face coverings and social distancing, and more.
To learn about all that we’re doing to protect the health of our customers and staff, visit: bigbluebus.com/welcomeback.