How to Get Connected

Whether enabling passengers to tap to pay with mobile wallets or to see the live location of a bus on their phone map, transit is leveraging cellular data and connectivity to modernize and improve the rider experience.

California is making it easier for public transit providers to get the data plans they need through Master Service Agreements (MSAs) established by the California Department of General Services (DGS). These data plans are available to agencies with the pre-negotiated rates listed.

Reach out to us for support at any time as your agency explores these resources.

Getting started

What is connectivity?

From accepting mobile wallets for fare payments to giving the live location of a bus, transit is using more technology to improve the rider experience. Cellular data is the power behind this new technology. Types of devices may include:

  • Router
  • Camera feeds
  • Passenger WiFi

As transit continues to modernize, more devices can be expected to leverage cellular data and connectivity.

How do data plans work?

Your technology can be connected through multiple SIMs (one per device) or a single SIM (one in a router).

Multiple SIMs

Each device could be powered by a SIM that connects to the network. These SIMs would have smaller data plans.

Devices connect to network.

Single SIM

A single router could provide connectivity to multiple devices. The router’s SIM would need a larger data plan.

Router connects to network. Devices connect to router.

How do I get started?

Cal-ITP will provide the materials and support you need to implement data plans on your fleet. To help us better assist you, we ask that you complete our contact form for Cal-ITP support. With this information, we can determine how best to support you with finding the right data plan for your needs, getting buy-in from internal stakeholders, and engaging with vendors.

After you complete the form, we welcome you to browse this guide to understand the process and your next steps.

Complete the form

Choosing a data plan

Choosing how much data

How much data you use depends on how many devices are on each vehicle. Typical usage for GTFS software and two fare payment validators is 3 GB/month.

1 GB
  • GTFS-RT or 1 fare payment validator
  • 2 GB
  • 2 fare payment validators
  • Unlimited
  • 2 fare payment validators
  • Cameras
  • Choosing a carrier

    We currently have contracts with:

    • AT&T
    • FirstNet
    • T-Mobile
    • Verizon

    Carriers provide different coverage depending on location, so it is important to evaluate which best covers your service area. You can use FCC data to evaluate Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T coverage. You can review FirstNet coverage on their website.

    Data plan pricing

    All four major carriers offer data-only plans that agencies can leverage. You can access data plans in the commercial marketplace or at discounted rates on CalNet or on NASPO.

    Note: Prices shown are the lowest available between CalNet and NASPO for that size plan
    Carrier FirstNet
    (CalNet + NASPO)
    (CalNet + NASPO)
    (CalNet + NASPO)
    < 3,000 SIMs 3k - 9,999 SIMs >9,999 SIMs - - -
    1 GB $10.00 $7.50 $4.99 $20.00 $8.00 $15.00
    2 GB N/A N/A N/A $23.00 $10.00 $20.00
    3 GB $25.00 $20.00 $14.99 $30.00 N/A N/A
    5 GB N/A N/A N/A $28.00 $21.21 $25.00
    Unlimited $34.00 $34.00 $29.99 $50.00 N/A $34.99

    In California, transit providers can access the FirstNet plan for their fleets. And Tier 2 prices are now available to all California agencies!

    Interested in tapping these rates? Contact us to get started today! Our team is happy to answer questions and guide you through the process.

    Get in touch