- Public transportation app Transit has incorporated Apple Pay and Google Pay for riders to purchase fares with transit systems that use Token Transit as their mobile ticketing provider, according to a Tuesday press release.
- The U.S. transit systems now supporting Apple Pay and Google Pay in the Transit app include Oakland, California’s AC Transit; Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica, California; GET in Bakersfield, California; Omnitrans in San Bernardino, California; MTD in Champaign and Urbana, Illinois; JTA in Jacksonville, Florida; The COMET in Columbia, S.C.; and EMBARK in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
- Since the app's Transit-Token integration launched in December 2021, about one-third of users across the 36 transit systems accepting Google Pay and Apple Pay have used these mobile wallet payment methods to purchase mobile tickets, said Stephen Miller, communications lead for the Transit app.
As mobile, contactless payments have gained steam, payments industry players have said they see transit as the gateway to further adoption of such payment methods.
Contactless payments got a "turbo boost" from the COVID-19 pandemic, and adoption is expected to grow as people use these payment methods on a daily basis, such as with public transit, said Visa’s Chief Product Officer Jack Forestell earlier this month during the Evercore ISI Payments and FinTech Innovators Forum.
Public transportation saw a drop-off in ridership as the pandemic hit, amid virus concerns and fewer people commuting to offices, but it provided an opportune time to roll out changes in fare purchasing and mobile ticketing.
As transit systems in cities of various sizes aim to streamline those tasks, this Apple Pay and Google Pay tie-in means riders with a credit card on file within one of those wallets can use it within the Transit app to pay their fares. Then, when boarding a bus, for example, riders show the driver the mobile ticket on their phone.
"Riders can already pay their fares in Transit with either cash or card. So it’s only natural we add Apple Pay and Google Pay to mix," Transit Chief Business Officer David Block-Schachter said in the release.
Montreal-based Transit operates in about 300 cities globally and supports mobile ticketing in 67 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Token Transit, which works primarily with bus systems, is the first mobile ticketing provider with which it’s integrating Apple Pay and Google Pay, but Transit is working with its other partners to offer this ability as well, Miller said.
"Token Transit’s integration capabilities allow riders to pay for fares in the mobile apps they already use," said Token Transit CEO Morgan Kikuchi-Conbere in the release. Those types of integrations create a more seamless experience, which is what riders "frankly demand," Miller said.
There was "slow movement" in the transit industry pre-Covid to support mobile ticketing, but the pandemic has fueled the shift, since riders want to reduce contact and board faster. "There was a real explosion in interest," Miller said.