Visa (NYSE: V) held its second regional Transforming Transit program yesterday, an innovation showcase at the intersection of urban mobility and payments to ideate and co-create the next generation fare and ticketing solutions.
The event convened public and private transport operators, authorities, agencies and ticketing schemes from Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) to discuss best practices and innovations in mass transportation to deliver better door-to-door rider journeys.
Transport operators around the world are recognizing the benefits of integrating fast, easy, secure payments at turnstiles and fare gates. Open loop, contactless ticketing allows customers to use the same Visa contactless card or device they use every day to turn up, tap and travel, helping save valuable time by avoiding the need to pre-purchase a ticket, manage a standalone transit card, or stand in line to reload their fare card. Visa has launched more than 180 contactless transit projects in the past five years and more than 60 projects in 2019 alone in cities spanning New York to Singapore, Rome to Rio. Transportation projects that Visa has launched are seeing positive customer adoption, with a 40% year-on-year increase in contactless transport transactions.
Marcello Baricordi, Visa’s General Manager for MENA, said: “Visa has successfully supported governments, transport operators, and technical partners in delivering seamless, secure digital payment solutions across transportation systems. Open loop ticketing is an important example of how payment innovation can not only transform the passenger experience, encouraging more people to adopt greener forms of travel, but also help make transport systems more efficient and cities more connected. We are delighted to have had this opportunity to engage with the region’s transport operators and authorities, and look forward to partnering with them to co-create the future of seamless transportation that will help travelers save time and cities operate more efficiently and sustainably.”
In the MENA region, consumers continue to choose contactless solutions as their preferred way to pay. Visa contactless transactions in the region have grown more than four-fold (467%) in the past year driven mainly by the UAE and KSA where transactions have seen over 140% and more than ten-fold (1161%) growth, respectively. According to a recent survey by Visa, commuters in Dubai (67%) and Cairo (58%) would prefer to pay using a contactless card or device instead of their transit card if the option were provided.
Madhur Mehra, Visa’s Head of Merchant Sales & Acquiring - MENA, said, “Improving city life by reducing pollution—while also moving people around efficiently—is one of the biggest challenges of our time. That is why Visa is working with cities around the world and engaging local transportation stakeholders and our partners through initiatives such as our ‘Transforming Transit’ program to show how transportation solutions leveraging contactless payment technology can make every day travel easier, faster, and cities more livable.”
Mike Tuckett, Head of Transformation Delivery of Transport for London (TfL), the British capital’s transit authority, presented his city’s successful adoption of open-loop ticketing to participants at the event. Beginning in 2012, TfL began offering bus, tube, ferry, light rail and conventional rail commuters the option to pay by contactless card or device instead of its proprietary Oyster transit card. According to Tuckett, the contactless system resulted in:
• increased journey volumes (from simplified ticket purchasing), leading to higher revenues;
• increased average journey speed, since riders no longer had to buy tickets or top-up cards;
• reduced need for vending machines, lowering operational costs; and
• better data insights, resulting in better fare modeling, route loading and capacity planning.
As a result of the successful pilot, other large towns and cities across the UK, including Manchester and Edinburgh, have launched the innovation, the TfL executive said.
Visa Urban Mobility Solutions
As the global payments leader, Visa has a proven record of helping cities around the world deliver better journeys through implementing fast, easy, secure payments. Visa’s global transportation framework allows customers to use any Visa contactless credential to access trains and buses regardless of the size of operations or fare structure (fixed, distance- or time-based or multimodal). These solutions can help transportation systems reduce infrastructure cost (ticketing offices and vending machines) and improve the overall customer experience to drive growth in ridership and revenue.
Visa’s global partner program, Visa Ready, gives transport agencies access to 100 partners worldwide to support key aspects of next generation fare systems: ticketing and fare collection, back office management, and consulting. By selecting a partner through Visa Ready for Transit, transport agencies can expedite overall time-to market by simplifying the process of identifying the right partner for a given project and streamlining testing and implementation.