In-Depth: As Covid-19 Causes Transit Ridership to Plummet, Third-Party Mobile-Ticketing Vendors Hope to Help Bring Riders Back

May 22 2020
By: 
Dan Balaban

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – As the Covid-19 crisis sows fear among mass transit customers and causes ridership on buses, trains and trams to crash, there is heightened interest in mobile ticketing and other electronic fare payments as a way to ease the concerns and help coax wary riders to return.  

Third-party providers are promoting their cloud-based software-as-a-service platforms, hoping to encourage more transit agencies to outsource their fare collection via smartphone apps, especially agencies that still accept cash and paper tickets for fares. In figures collected by NFC Times, mobile ticketing for mass transit using these third-party platforms had already been increasing at a steady pace before the Covid-19 lockdowns, for both large and especially small agencies in the U.S. (See graph and text below).  

And while mobile payments with NFC devices using such services as Apple Pay and Google Pay is also growing in such places as London and New York, only a limited number of agencies have enabled NFC mobile payments. Many more agencies, particularly smaller ones in the U.S., have hired third-party contractors to run their electronic ticketing for them. 

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