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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

New Methods of Paying for Public Transport

Who hasn’t been caught running to catch a train, bus or ferry, worried about not getting a seat or missing their ride altogether because they needed to stand in line to buy a ticket?  Wouldn’t life be easier if you could simply get onboard and pay when the conductor passes?

There’s no need to wait for George Jetson and the future because mass transit agencies are exploring new methods of payment TODAY, providing commuters more convenient, reliable and fast options. These include methods as simple as more automated kiosks to new ‘tap-to-pay’ tools for on-board payments and more.  One agency that is taking steps toward this is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York.

Last week, the MTA announced it is testing a program on select Long Island Rail Road lines that allows passengers more payment options when buying a ticket after boarding the train. The LIRR will begin a pilot that will allow passengers to purchase tickets with their credit cards on the train by equipping their conductors with Ticket Issuance Machines (TIMs). More than one million tickets were purchased using cash on board the LIRR in 2010.  With this program, neither conductors nor passengers need to worry about the inconvenience, hassle or security concerns tied to carrying a certain amount of cash or receiving large amounts of change due to the increased convenience of electronic payments.

Last year, MasterCard conducted a six-month technology trial with the MTA where passengers could pay their fare by tapping a contactless PayPass card or device on specially marked readers at select stations on the New York City subway system, as well as on designated bus routes.  The speed and convenience of PayPass was hailed by passengers and the MTA is planning to open up their system to card payments permanently.

But, this isn’t just an opportunity for New Yorkers.  MasterCard is making the future of payments a reality across the globe. In London, we are working with Transit for London on their Oyster Card system that promises to offer card access to the Underground, as well as buses and regional trains.  MasterCard is also providing PayPass contactless payment solutions for urban transportation centers around the world, across the US, Asia (including Singapore, Taiwan, Korea) and Europe (including the UK, Italy, France, Turkey, Poland, and Russia).

Where would a faster transaction through technology like PayPass create more convenience in your day?