California’s Monterey-Salinas Transit To Offer Visa’s Tap To Pay

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Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) will now allow bus riders to pay fares using contactless solutions, becoming the first California transit agency — and the first system outside a major metropolitan area — to offer tap-to-pay fares, according to a press release emailed to PYMNTS.

MST will offer the solution, which provides for payments from payment-enabled devices and contactless credit, debit and prepaid cards, through a partnership with Visa, Cybersource, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Littlepay and SC Soft, the release stated.

“This effort with MST and Caltrans illustrates how open, contactless payments can support innovative and equitable fare policies to benefit riders and transit operators across the state,” said Brian Cole, head of Product for North America at Visa, in the release.

Today’s announcement pushes forward Caltrans’ California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP), which aims to make travel in the state more cost-effective and easier, according to the release.

“Removing barriers to transit ridership underscores what Cal-ITP is all about, and the launch of this contactless payment demonstration represents a significant step toward a simpler and more equitable public transit system throughout California,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin in the release.

The solution — which eliminates the need for a separate transit card or handling cash — not only reduces physical touch, making the bus system safer, it also saves riders money, according to the release. Tap-to-pay users will have their daily fare capped at $10 per day as long as they continue to use the same mobile wallet or contactless card all day.

And, by simplifying the ticketing experience, the tap-to-pay solution also reduces the operators’ costs, Fernando Souza, vice president at payments platform Cybersource, a Visa solution, told PYMNTS last summer in a conversation about the contactless transit solution. In the partnership, Cybersource provides payment and fraud management tools, as well as transit compliant processing solutions, to help operators implement digital payments.

“For Cybersource, our role is to connect these three worlds — the [public transit operator (PTO)] infrastructure, the solution provider and the payment ecosystem — such that they can accept Visa or other payment brands within their transportation system,” Souza said.

Littlepay will help MST operators process mass transit transactions and cap fares, and SC Soft will integrate ticketing and automated fare collection tools for the agency, the release stated.

New York, Chicago, Miami and Portland, Oregon, already offer the tap-to-pay solution, according to the release.

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