Open-loop transit payments: driving ridership, sustainability & inclusion
Cities and regions are driven by a need to make mobility sustainable and inclusive. In our latest ‘Let’s Talk About Transport’ podcast, Thea Fisher, Visa’s Senior Director in Global Urban Mobility, reflects on how open-loop transit payments support this.
She discusses how contactless payments – using the card or device you carry everywhere – contribute towards driving modal shift from private to public transport, reducing carbon emissions and enabling social and financial inclusion.
Listen to the podcast now (25 mins for the full episode, or select a short chapter)
Visa’s recent paper, Reimagining Ridership, was based on a survey of 75 transit agencies and 3,000 passengers. It showed the ease of tap-to-pay with EMV cards and devices is a key factor in motivating public transport use.
“Our research found that 80 percent of transit agencies saw increased ridership,” says Thea. “Among those who adopted open-loop payments less than two years ago, there was an average increase of six percent, while agencies with more experience saw an average increase of 10 percent.”
The popularity of EMV transit payments is demonstrated by ridership figures from Flowbird customer, Lothian Buses, which experienced one of the fastest adoption rates ever after launching open loop payments in 2019. Four years later, one in two journeys on Lothian buses starts with an EMV ‘tap’ and the Edinburgh bus company recently recorded over 100,000 taps in a day by passengers using its account-based ticketing system.
In our podcast, Thea describes how open loop transit payments can transform passenger experience, include all people in society, and act as a pathway to Mobility-as-a-Service.
Soundbites from the podcast
Contactless EMV convenience can’t be beaten
It’s much easier to get on a bus or subway system when you’ve got the payment method in your pocket. You’re not going to sit with a map, or have to figure out what product you need to purchase to get where you’re going.
Open loop payment innovation is just the start
Once you’ve enabled contactless payments, there’s a lot you can do… loyalty schemes, redirecting passenger flows, issuing EMV cards that enable the underbanked to be included in transport and financial systems.
Complement or replace closed-loop systems
The mission for payments is to ensure that no rider is left behind. Open-loop acceptance provides agencies with the ability to issue physical or digital credentials using EMV technology that aren’t linked to a bank account.
Create seamless multimodal travel experiences
Open-loop can combine different modes of transport under one user experience… If transit ecosystems can tie this together using a tokenised version of a person’s payment credential, that’s a phenomenal way for riders to engage in Mobility-as-a-Service.