What happens when open-loop ticketing goes nationwide

  • Date: 03/18/2024

Cities around the world rely on transit systems to get residents to work, school and around town — efficiently and on time. But not all systems are created equal.

Closed-loop systems require riders to purchase or reload a transit card every time they need to hop on a bus or catch a train or ferry. Most public transit riders, according to a recent Visa survey, are using four or more payment methods a month to travel on more than one system (such as a train connecting to a bus). And if that metro card or ticket is lost or stolen, the commuter is out of luck, and money.

Open-loop systems based on the EMVco standard for contactless payments offer a more convenient, efficient and cost-effective alternative. No tickets, no paper, no cash — and no waiting in a queue. Instead, riders can use their smart device or the same contactless credit, debit, or prepaid card they use for everyday purchases to tap and ride — from bus to train to ferry and beyond.

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