NJ Transit to add contactless, open-loop fare options

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New Jersey’s commuter rail and bus system is joining the movement to add contactless payment options for commuters, which observers say could spark broader adoption of mobile payments across the U.S.

NJ Transit will upgrade its mobile payments program so consumers may eventually pay to ride on buses and trains using either contactless credit and debit cards or a proprietary reloadable contactless fare card.

The move comes with NJ Transit’s renewal of a contract with payments technology firm Conduent to expand capabilities of the agency’s MyTix mobile payments app, which was introduced in 2013, according to a Monday press release.

NJ Transit plans to install more than 2,500 devices on buses and light rail platforms to accept payments via the mobile app, bar codes and Near Field Communication-based contactless technology, the transportation agency said in the release.

The reloadable fare card will have options to manage an associated account via the mobile app, online or at local retailers, the release said.

“Giving customers the ability to utilize the latest technology to pay fares offers a major convenience to them and multiple benefits including easier payment options, speeding up boarding and making out collection systems more efficient and up to date,” said Kevin Corbett, NJ Transit’s executive director, in the release.

Contactless payments technology has been a catalyst for broader mobile payment adoption in Asia and the U.K. since the late 1990s.

Several North American cities including Vancouver, Canada, Portland, Ore., and Boston have recently announced plans to add cashless payment options leveraging mobile payments technology.

Google also this year made moves to streamline consumer enrollment in mobile payment systems via Google Pay. And Visa is pushing cashless transit payments through its global Visa Ready for Transit initiative.

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Mobile payments Contactless payments New Jersey