The data showed 35% percent of Gen Z respondents noted public transportation as their main method of transportation. - Photo: Visa

The data showed 35% percent of Gen Z respondents noted public transportation as their main method of transportation.

Photo: Visa

Visa released the results of their Future of Urban Mobility Survey, which shows riders are expecting contactless payment options and the younger generation is beginning to prefer public transit. 

The company surveyed 9,000 adults in nine countries. The survey found 84% of public transit riders who have decreased their ridership since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic plan to use public transit at the same rate as they did before the pandemic. 

“As vaccination rates pick-up, we expect to see ridership increase in areas that have higher vaccination rates faster than areas that do not,” said Jason Blackhurst, sr. VP, global seller products, at Visa. “In addition to our survey data pointing to increased interest in riding transit, our own Visa data illustrates this as well. Even with mass transit usage down across the globe, since the global low in April of 2020, Visa contactless transactions for transit fare have grown nearly 6 times.”

The survey found 88% of global respondents expect a contactless payment option moving forward, while 90% of U.S. respondents said they also expect it to happen. 

Visa and its partners have recently rolled out new Tap to Ride projects to enable riders to tap their contactless credit, debit, prepaid card, or payment-enabled device, without needing to load a transit card or handle cash while boarding. 

“We have supported the launch of more than 450 live projects worldwide and have more than 700 active projects in the pipeline, and despite COVID-19 related restrictions and various stages of re-opening, we have observed a 40% uptick in the pipeline size over the past year,” Blackhurst said. 

Visa also partnered with the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) to create the Urban Mobility Open Payments Forum, which was announced July 22. The Forum will be aimed at helping cities create sustainable door-to-door travel experiences, enabled by open loop payments systems.

Blackhurst believes there are not many challenges for riders to transition to a full contactless payment system. 

“Contactless provides an easy way to ride the same way they tap to pay for a cup of coffee — no longer needing dedicated transit cards — and our global standards and framework ensures that the experience is the same,” he said. “No matter where you are in the world or what language you speak, everyone can adopt it easily. We want this to be the case for mass transit everywhere."

The survey data showed that 88% of riders expect their local transit systems to offer a contactless option for payments and ticketing. 

Mask-wearing is also here to stay for some riders. The survey revealed 68% of public transit riders say it is likely they will continue to wear a mask when riding.

Younger generations are using public transit, too. The data showed 35% percent of Gen Z respondents noted public transportation as their main method of transportation.

“It was also great to see how younger adults are embracing public transit as part of a sustainability-focused lifestyle,” Blackhurst said. “As we move forward, transit operators need to take measures to ensure that the re-imagined transit experience caters to the riders of the future.”

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