Transportation has suddenly become very interesting to many in the payments industry. MTA, the largest regional public transportation provider in the Western Hemisphere, just launched its new open loop contactless card and mobile wallet payments platform, called OMNY. This is BIG news; according to 2018 figures, New York City Transit and regional rail and bus systems serve a region of approximately 15.3 million people spread over 5,000 square miles in 14 counties in New York and Connecticut.
The OMNY tap-and-go payments system available in 16 stations got off to a quick start, with subway riders making 10,700 taps in the first weekend. Riders can pay with their mobile phones equipped with Google Pay and Apple Pay, or with debit and credit cards enabled for the contactless payments. The MTA said about 80% of OMNY payments in the last few weeks came through phones. Apple Pay has its new transit express mode enabled to work on the OMNY readers – so the phone is like the card, requiring just a tap. It’s really fast and easy to use. It may be a sign of a preference for mobile, since transit riders keep their phones out during their trips and are not as likely to put it down when reaching into their wallet or purse or going through a turnstile. These numbers could be worrisome for EMV contactless card issuers in the region or it could reflect that fewer contactless cards have been issued to date in the New York City metro region. and their use will catch up to phones over time.
Another interesting development in transportation payments is Mobility as a Service (MaaS). The movement towards MaaS is fueled by a myriad of innovative new mobility service providers, such as ride-sharing and e-hailing services, bike-sharing programs, and car-sharing services as well as on-demand “pop-up” bus services serving large cities across the country.
This shift is further enabled by improvements in the integration of multiple modes of transport into seamless trip chains, with bookings and payments managed collectively for all legs of the trip. In the New York example, commuters may use a bank card, mobile wallet, or a dedicated travel card called an OMNY card to pay for their travel. By linking different modes of transportation to one payments platform that can service the multiple transport services, trip and payment data is gathered and can be used to help people’s journeys become more efficient and less expensive. Public transport scheduling and the spending of consumer dollars can be justified by obtaining and analyzing data on modern urban mobility trends, such as where to place bike rentals and ride sharing pick up areas that are near heaviest traveled commuter bus and subway stops.
The Secure Technology Alliance has an active Transportation Council that is addressing issues with the adoption of open architecture, open payments transit systems and the linkage of those transit payments platforms to MaaS transit services providers to come up with a seamless and frictionless transportation experience. Contact the Alliance if you would like to join the modern transportation experience.