Sydney to Test Multimodal Payments Involving Private Mobility Providers Using Digital Closed-Loop Card

NFC Times Exclusive Insight – A trial to be held later this year in Australia’s largest city, Sydney, if it proves successful, could offer one example for how agencies can encourage customers to take multimodal transport combining public and private operators. The economics behind the New South Wales government’s trial offer are unclear, however.

In what is considered a world first, 10,000 trial users of a digital version of Sydney’s closed-loop Opal card will be able to pay for the Uber ride-hailing service, Lime bike rentals and ingogo taxis. They will receive an AU$3 (US$2.28) credit to their Opal accounts if they travel on public transit, such as metro or bus, within 60 minutes of taking any of these private services. A separate offer would give customers up to 25% discounts on a private ferry service, also if they catch public transit within an hour. They reportedly could take the public transit rides before or after they take the private mobility trips.

The incentives could help riders navigate what is known as the  “first-mile-last-mile” challenge of getting to and from public transit hubs. That is one of the things that providers of mobility-as-a-service, or MaaS, platforms are struggling to resolve.

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