New York transport authority makes contactless payments push

New York transport authority makes contactless payments push

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is stepping up plans to introduce an open standards-based contactless payments system for the city's subway and bus networks.

The MTA began testing contactless payments for subway users back in 2006, teaming with MasterCard and Citi on a pilot, and has been involved in several further trials since.

It has now developed a Concept of Operations (ConOps) that will lead directly to lead to the design, procurement and implementation of a new, contactless, opens standards, fare payment system.

The document sets out what the authority wants the new system to do and the MTA is now calling on firms in the fare collection, technology, telco, system integration and payments industries to get involved.

Interested parties can submit written comments up until 25 May and an outreach presentation for vendors will be held on 10 May. American Express and JP Morgan Chase are among the firms signed up to attend.

You can read the ConOps document here:

Download the document now 1.4 mb (PDF File)

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 26 April, 2011, 11:14Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Just taken this from Page 25 of the .pdf.

"Fare engine. Implements MTA fare and transfer policies. Computes the fare to be charged for each tap or set of taps that define a trip, based on location and time of taps. Transmits this fare to the account and billing servers."

How is this going to work?  At what point is the card to be charged?  First tap, when the system doesn't know where I am going?  Last tap, but the system can't tell that I have reached the end of my journey?

This is the US, where all transactions are authorised online.  So assuming that principle remains, how can the fare and transfer policies be implemented if the card is charged at every tap?





Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 27 April, 2011, 16:57Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I don't remember if it was in Finextra or elsewhere, but I distinctly remember reading an announcement in 2004 or 2005 about the launch of a contactless payment pilot on the ferry service from Hoboken / Jersey City to Manhattan. On my next trip to the US in 2005, I wanted to try this out. Lo and behold, neither the attendant at the ticket counter nor any of the four - yes, only four - other fellow passengers had any clue what I was talking about!

Seven years later, interesting that another such pilot in the region is still in the "concept of operations" stage. Hope it goes into production while the concept of "contactless" is still in vogue! During a similar period, Oyster Card is poised to enter its second or third generation.

Wonder if there's a clue here for how quickly we can expect EMV and Mobile NFC to attain mass adoption in the US?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 10 May, 2011, 09:04Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

In reply to David Griffiths, it probably works something like this.  First tap (as you start journey), your card identifies you and your journey start. Your card is checked against a black list of card numbers updated to the entry gate periodically and entry denied if it is a black list card. No charge is made.  Second tap, at exit gate, you and journey end identified. Record matched with your entry tap data, your fare calculated and charged to your card.  This is roughly how open loop contactless payment cards work on UTA if I recall correctly.