How Payments Can Transform the Urban Transit Experience

Benoit Boudier of Ingenico Group talks about how payment technology can help transforms the urban transit experience. 

Ever-growing city populations present significant challenges for urban planners. The more people living in a city, the greater the requirement of public and mass transportation to get residents around. Understandably, this makes improving the efficiency of mass transit systems crucial.

One of the main ways in which this can be done is through payments. For example, many metro and bus networks across the world allow passengers to use their contactless cards to pay for their fare at the point of embarkation. From London to Sydney to Vancouver – and increasingly across Eastern Europe – contactless has made the process of paying for transport seamless and near-instant.

This has the effect of reducing queues and congestion, saving time for commuters and improving the efficiency of transportation services. There is no longer the scramble for the correct fare, or the unfortunate situation in which your transit card doesn’t have enough funds on it.

It’s no surprise, then, that payments have become an integral aspect of other urban transportation schemes. Cycle hire schemes, which have spread from Paris to London and Seattle and many other cities, are built upon a frictionless payments experience. The way in which citizens or tourists can easily pay for and access these bikes has been a huge part of their success.

This fits into broader trends of changing customer behaviours. People now come to expect the payment experience to be smooth and instant, whether they’re paying for a coffee or groceries or getting on a train.

Frictionless payment systems also represent a huge benefit to the operators of public transportation networks. The cost of printing paper tickets is all but removed, as is the requirement for other pieces of fare equipment. It also reduces the burden of fare collection and passenger management. This will be music to the ears of network operators the world over.

Making it easier to pay for parking

Of course, it’s not enough to just improve the payment experience for public transport networks in cities. No matter which city you are in the world, there will always be a need for some residents to use a car to get around. And those people need a place to park.

However, with the number of motorists climbing in many cities, the amount of parking spaces is rarely enough to cater for the need. This results in high fares for spaces, which in turn creates greater congestion on roads. How many times have you driven around looking for a space, only to find out the cost is more than you’re willing to pay?

And if you do find a space that isn’t extortionately expensive, the means of payment can be less than ideal. Motorists must often scrape together the exact change for a parking meter. Or they must put their card details into an automated phone system, which isn’t ideal either.

The payment experience for parking is an area ripe for technological improvement. Which is why Ingenico, the world leader in integrated payment solutions, worked with OPnGO, a new app that makes the process of finding and paying for parking spaces much simpler.

Through the OPnGO smartphone app, motorists can locate car parking spaces nearby, in advance if necessary, from over 300,000 spaces across 200 cities in France, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg.

But one of the greatest innovations of OPnGO is that it facilitates a frictionless payment process. Users can add their credit or debit card to the app and can register as many payments methods as they desire. The app automatically charges the customer’s selected payment method every time they enter or exit a car park, delivering the invoice via email. The driver doesn’t even need a ticket. Ingenico provides the payments processing that makes the app possible.

Applications like OPnGO aim to make the act of getting around cities simpler and more enjoyable. A large part of that is updating transit in a way that is more in line with the way that the public expects to pay for things in the digital world. With over 300,000 new registrations in 2018 alone, OPnGO shows that parking, like many other transportation experiences, can easily be improved with frictionless, invisible payments.

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