Increase traffic with contactless payments
Before the onset of the pandemic, contactless payment technology was an add-on feature that some companies offered their customers. Social distancing and safety precautions have accelerated its adoption, and now consumers expect this option every time they make a purchase. Nicole Fontayne Bardowell, Acting Chief Financial Officer at Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), told PYMNTS in a recent interview that the public transport sector has had to innovate particularly to meet this demand. DART, for example, expanded a microtransit service powered solely by contactless payments in response to the pandemic. Mass transit, however, itself has a massive impact on the advancement of technology.
“I think as people are beginning to see [the benefits of mobile payments] as we offer new services, passengers are more inclined to adopt contactless payments,” she said.
Dallas is the last five US cities to accept open-loop payments, joining the ranks of transportation heavyweights such as New York’s MTA and San Francisco’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). With nearly 90% of runners now waiting contactless fare options for their trips, the adoption of this technology in public transport will likely increase in the United States
Digital security-conscious commuters
Open-loop contactless payments allow users to use their contactless cards every day without having to search for cash, notes, tokens or closed-loop payment cards. When a new digital tool is introduced, however, consumers are often suspicious of its ability to protect their personal information. This is especially true among older generations, as less than half of all baby boomers interrogates used contactless payment technology. Fontayne-Bardowell believes safety is one of the most important features when introducing new transit technology and promoting its adoption by commuters.
“Working closely with our IT department to explain the benefits of [using] secure contactless and credit card payments [has been crucial to their adoption],” she said. “I think that was actually a driving force [because] people were worried about not having that safety net [of using cash]. I do not think so [contactless payments] would have had the impact it had [otherwise].”
Contactless is one of the most secure means of payment on the market. Recent research has show that digital payments and ticketing can reduce fraud and secondary sales by strengthening customer payment card data protection and eliminating pre-registration processes. The migration to digital ticketing also provides transit authorities with informative traveler data, which transit professionals can use to improve the customer experience through better route planning and capacity planning protocols. Regardless of its many benefits, transportation companies should always stagger the rollout of any new contactless payment technology to ease customers and employees into changed processes.
“As often as agencies talk about taking money out of transit systems, it can’t be done at the same time,” Fontayne-Bardowell explained. “You have to help the riders through the adoption process. And I think that’s where it builds slowly – some would say slowly; I think it’s actually very deliberate – the riders really appreciated that.
Open-loop contactless payment enables rate cap technology
Many approaches exist to increase ridership and get commuters back to public transit after the pandemic. One such solution is fare capping, a system that limits passenger spending to a specific monetary value to avoid overpaying for commuter services. The maximum Cost for DART commuters is $6 per day, or just $96 per month, for example.
“What our customers really appreciate is that price capping aspect – they don’t have to worry about it,” Fontayne-Bardowell said. “If they tap each time they get on the ride, the system will automatically know [how often they ride]. the [artificial intelligence] behind [offers] the ability to know that the system is watching over them with regard to costs. »
Open loop contactless payments allow riders to pay as they go using a physical card or mobile wallet to enter and exit. Combining this technology with rate cap protocols improves customer satisfaction rates and reduces financial burden put on low-income commuters. Travelers who can’t afford the upfront fee for monthly passes can now enjoy the same discounts for unlimited rides without having to pay upfront.
“We built it up gradually,” explained Fontayne-Bardowell. “We started with the GoPass app. We then introduced the GoPass Tap Card. And then we moved to contactless payments. I can’t wait to see what’s next.