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The Many Ways Contactless Payments Are Transforming Mass Transit

American Banker

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The pandemic caused fears of a doom loop in mass transit systems, which were largely shut down in the early days of the crisis, and were slow to recover as the rest of society opened. But many cities used the downtime to install some much-needed upgrades to entice riders to return. 

Payment companies jumped into the fray, deploying ticketing systems that rely on contactless cards and mobile devices.

The idea was to reduce the traditional cards that could only be used in the transit networks, replacing them with a cleaner and more open method of ticketing that in theory would encourage digital payments at merchants near the transportation systems. It’s a strategy that has outlived the crisis.  

“There is a great opportunity to extend payments if you can get people to use a payment mode twice per day,” said Andres Polo, urban mobility lead for Visa in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The transit upgrades have continued as the pandemic has eased and ridership has recovered, albeit slowly. Here are some examples of recent developments and projects that are designed to boost the pace of recovery.