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Digital payments are driving the future of transit

  • 91% of riders expect contactless payment options to be a part of their public transit experience.
  • 61% of riders said that having capped fares as an option for their rides would encourage them to take transit more often compared to traditional fare payment methods.

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Digital payments are driving the future of transit

As people get back out into the world, many increasingly plan to use public transportation to reach their destinations, whether they are traveling to work, school, or leisure activities. Visa’s second Future of Urban Mobility Survey found that nearly half (42%) of respondents intend to increase their usage of public transit over the next year.1 An overwhelming majority (91%) of surveyed riders either strongly or somewhat expect contactless payments to be an option in their transit experiences and nearly half (45%) said that it was their preferred method of payment.1 

The findings suggest that the role of transit in everyday life is becoming more significant. And with that, operators need to be ready to meet the demands of passengers seeking an experience that is optimized for efficiency, convenience, and inclusivity.

Transit fits neatly into everyday life

While the idea of a “typical schedule” may be a thing of the past, people across the globe still depend on transit to get them where they need to be. Among employed riders, 62% use public transit at least three times a week, and another 28% report using it five times a week or more.

That reliance extends beyond traveling to and from work. Roughly one in three (30%) riders use transit as their primary means of transportation, and 55% of riders take it to leisure activities.1 For plenty of riders, factors like cost, convenience, and trip length all play a role in motivating them to choose transit. And the benefits extend beyond themselves – most (88%) riders reported that sustainability and the environment were an important part of their decision to travel by transit.1

Rethinking the fare payment experience

Fare capping has proven itself as both appealing and equitable for riders, providing them with an opportunity to save money. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed (61%) said that having capped fares as an option for their rides would encourage them to take transit more often compared to traditional fare payment methods. 1 

With faster rides ranking as a top motivator for 43% of riders, fare capping eliminates idle time spent figuring out how much a ride may cost and streamlines the boarding process for everyone.1 Eliminating extra time and complexity benefits not only the rider, but it helps ensure that operators are able to keep everything running smoothly and on time even during peak hours of usage. 

Building a seamless experience for a transit-driven future

Our research suggests that for transit operators, bringing more riders on board will depend in large part on how well they adapt to meet the evolving range of expectations. The Future of Urban Mobility Survey has made it clear that digital payments are becoming the norm. 

Visa is working to help deliver more seamless contactless payments on transportation in cities around the world. Recently, Visa and its transit partners have launched projects in countries including France, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, and Turkey. Leveraging digital solutions like these offers transit operators unique advantages and benefits including improved security, better operational savings, and a streamlined adoption standard for solutions to work with any network. 

As a company dedicated to an open, inclusive digital economy, empowering operators to build a seamless and convenient experience for everyone means more riders can incorporate transit into their daily lives – for work, for play, and for a greener future.

1 Visa’s Future of Urban Mobility Study, 2022

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