by Kevin Boland, Vice President, Business Development, Conduent Public Transportation and Mobility
Cities interested in an open payment system like the sound of a one-size-fits-all system. Riders also appreciate the open payment system that lets everyone use the payment method of their choice. But does this mean that open payment systems are created equal?
No, and that’s a good thing! While an open payment system is open to variability, it must be molded to best fit the infrastructure of the city it serves. The reality is that each city and every rider is unique in their needs and expectations. Here are some of the ways that an open payment system offers the most services for a city’s transit system, while still catering to the individual rider.
Payment Options Vary
An open payment fare provides all riders with equal access to multiple payment options. Individuals can use mobile devices to pay for a single ride or multiple journeys. They are able to scan their debit card or credit card to make payments in an instant. If they want to prepay by loading funds into their account, they can do so with ease. The point is, the open payment system is open to the most forms of payment options.
On the other hand, a pseudo open system requires riders to use a single payment card, as determined by the system provider. This isn’t an open system, but one that forces riders to choose a single payment type to get the best deal or discounts.
Open payment systems also provide riders with intuitive benefits that allows the service to cater to the individual rider. This starts when riders register any contact-less card or NFC device, such as Apple Pay or Android Pay, with the open payment system. During registration the individual selects any discounts that apply for them, such as a student discount. Now the rider is set up to receive the full benefits of a user intuitive system.
Next they have the option of purchasing a type of payment that works best for them. In town for a summer school session? Time to purchase a 30-day rail pass to cover the costs of travel for that period, while also getting a discount for the fare type. Want to prepay for a week’s worth of travel? Easy to do with the pre-registered open system account.
Best of all, since everything is already in the system regarding discounts and deals, the rider is automatically going to receive the discounted fare without having to prove their identity at a ticket booth each and every time they purchase a ticket or pass.
On top of that, the open payment system adjusts to user behavior. So if the rider needs to use the bus or train more frequently in a set period of time, the open payment system automatically adjusts to give them the better rate. As a side note, riders don’t even have to register with the open payment system in order to take advantage of this fare cap.
One Size Shouldn’t Fit All
Open payment systems provide equal access to more riders by offering the greatest number of payment and discount opportunities. Riders without smartphones and Apple or Android Pay still have ease of service by using a public computer to register and prepay on their account. Individuals who are going to use public transit for a month can receive discounts geared at their use, just like individuals who use the system every day of the year. That doesn’t mean the open payment systems are going to be the same for all cities, though. The open payment system is designed to amend itself to best suit any public transit situation.
Want to learn more about how open payment systems truly work? Check out our eBook, The Myths of Open Payment Fare Collection—Debunked!