New fare collection systems that accept open bank card payments are successfully moving forward, transit agencies reported at last week's in-person Smart Card Alliance Transportation Council meeting in Philadelphia. The Transportation Council is a diverse group of Smart Card Alliance member organizations representing transit agencies, fare payments technologies, fare collection system integrators and financial organizations.
"The meeting brought together transit agencies of all sizes — some in the midst of implementation, others in planning stages — to discuss and collaborate on strategies and best practices for deploying new smart card-based fare collection systems," said Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. "Based on the many new initiatives we heard about at the meeting, it is clear that transit agencies are dedicated to providing a better overall experience for customers through faster and more convenient open payments, better customer service, and enhanced information for riders."
During the two-day meeting, small, medium and large transportation agencies discussed strategies for accepting open bank card payments for public transportation; challenges and opportunities for commuter rail; best practices for transit business and technical architectures; financial industry technologies and directions that affect fare collection; and the impact of new fare collection systems on fare policy.
At the close of the first day, attendees had the opportunity to see open fare payment in action during a tour of the Port Authority Transit Corp.'s Wave-and-Pay ANYWHERE Visa Prepaid Card trial location, as well as the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Operations Center. SEPTA is one of the first transit agencies deploying an open fare payment system.
For more information on transit open payments, the Smart Card Alliance Transit Open Payment Resources webpage contains up-to-date information on North American transit programs implementing open contactless payments. The page includes descriptions of transit programs and reference documents, the library of Smart Card Alliance transit resources, and a slideshow that explains the basics of open transit payment technology.