Some Large U.S. Transit Authorities Gear Up for Open-Loop Rollouts

By: 
Kiona Smith-Strickland

As large transit authorities in the U.S. prepare deployments of open-loop fare collection, they say they still need progress from the payments industry to make those deployments successful.

Such major U.S. transit agencies as New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, MTA; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, SEPTA, in Philadelphia; and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, WMATA, in Washington, D.C., say the technology for contactless payments and open-loop fare collection is available, but they need more contactless credit and debit cards, and NFC smartphones, in the market to support their deployments.

“Frankly, the pilots that (MTA) ran in 2006 and 2010 proved out that the technology can work in our environment,” said Michael DeVitto, vice president and program executive for fare payment programs at New York City Transit, part of the MTA, speaking at a recent transit agency executive roundtable on EMV, mobile and account-based fare collection put on by the Smart Card Alliance. “I think where we have some challenges is on the solution side, and so the delivery of the solutions for all of our needs is where some work needs to get done.”

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