BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — This August, locals who depend on Capital Area Transit System (CATS) buses will have a safer and more convenient option for payment.

CATS announced Monday (July 18) that it will begin rolling out contactless pay options Monday, August 15 and that the new payment system will be applied to its entire fleet.

The system is the result of a collaboration between CATS and Umo, which is a multi-modal platform that connects public and private mobility systems to optimize public transportation operations.

Contactless pay options for riders

Essentially, people who ride the bus will have two contactless pay options:

(1) New reloadable CATS x Umo pass cards

(2) A smartphone app

So, how can riders begin making use of the new payment system?

CATS explains that riders can download the Umo app by using their phone to access the iOS or Android app store and searching for “Umo Mobility.” Then, they’ll set up an account and purchase passes, or add a balance to their account using a credit or debit card. Riders can also track their bus and plan trips within the app.

But those who’d prefer a reloadable pass card have options as well.

CATS says these individuals can get their CATS x Umo pass cards at the CATS Terminal. Once they’re received, riders can load the pass cards and purchase passes online at or visit participating vendors to load their pass cards in person.

How to use CATS x Umo

Here’s how to use CATS x UMO is simple: Say Hello, Tap, and Go! Once the CATS x UMO card or app has been loaded with a fare or pass, riders will simply scan their Umo Mobile App or tap their CATS x UMO pass card on the Umo reader in the bus as they board.

CATS riders who have already qualified for a reduced fare will be able to receive a special CATS x UMO pass card.

CATS adds that it will continue to accept cash fares, but that paper passes will be phased out over time as the agency transitions to CATS x UMO.

Expected benefits of contactless pay

CATS Interim CEO Dwana Williams explained that the new payment system comes with several benefits, saying, “We are excited to bring this technology to the people of Baton Rouge and Baker. Contactless pay will allow our riders easier access to passes and fares, speed up the boarding process, and eliminate the need to have cash and coins on hand in order to ride.”