City working on new contactless payment feature for OC Transpo

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – Ottawa staff are working on a way to accelerate the inception of contactless payment features for OC Transpo.

“OC Transpo is pleased to announce a new agreement with Scheidt & Bachmann (S&B) to fast track additional contactless fare payment technology on its bus fleet and at O-Train stations with fare gates,” city staff released in a statement last week (Aug. 21).

Over the next several months, OC Transpo and S&B will work together to develop and test the technology allowing riders to tap a credit card at fare card readers on buses and at O-Train station fare gates. Testing will take place throughout 2020, with the new system anticipated to be ready for customers next year.

“This is an exciting partnership that shows how OC Transpo is finding new ways to improve the transit experience for our residents,” Mayor Jim Watson said. “Contactless payment using a personal credit card is a leading-edge service on transit systems worldwide, and I look forward to using this user-friendly technology on our transit system here in Ottawa.”

This partnership will result in OC Transpo having one of the most advanced fare payment systems in Canada, giving customers flexibility to choose from a range of payment options, staff say.

This enhancement builds on the innovative technology in OC Transpo’s fare gates and ticket vending machines installed at O-Train Stations. The addition of new payment options at faregates and fare card readers on buses is being fast tracked in light of the COVID-19 pandemic so that OC Transpo can offer customers additional options to easily pay their transit fare while reducing contact points along the system.

When launched, the new card readers will accept payments made with VISA and MasterCard, or by tapping a smartphone with Apple Pay or Google Pay. In the initial phase, the payment system will only be used for adult single-ride fares but can over time be expanded to other fare types.

As part of testing, customers will have an opportunity to use the new payment system at a fare gate at one O-Train Station by the end of 2020. Subject to the successful results of this trial, it is currently expected that the new payment option will be available on all buses and at all fare gates in 2021.

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