Siemens, Bytemark to connect multi-modal transit payments in Columbus, Ohio

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Siemens Mobility has announced it’s working with Bytemark, a company Siemens partially owns, to develop a payment solution enabling riders to pay once for a trip across the city using multiple public and private modes of transit, from buses to scooters.

The move is part of Siemens’ participation in the open-source “Smart Columbus” platform, a joint initiative of the city of Columbus and Columbus Partnership, which has obtained grants and private investment to improve the region’s transportation system and reduce traffic congestion, according to a Friday press release.

Siemens will develop the payment solution for the Smart Columbus trip-planning app so that payment for a single journey involving multiple modes of transport occurs just once, with the respective fares routed to the right services, the release said.

Bytemark will provide technology to digitize transit passes, tickets and fare media that consumers may purchase online or through the app, according to the release.

Siemens is also working with PayNearMe to enable an option for consumers to add cash to the app through walk-in retail locations, the release said.

“This opens up access for a whole new group of travelers — previously limited by banking options — to experience today’s newer travel options and capabilities,” said Marcus Welz, president of Siemens Mobility’s Intelligent Traffic Systems in North America and CEO of Bytemark, in the release.

“The beauty of such a system is that you can plan — and pay for — your trips more holistically. Instead of checking to see which mode is faster, you can actually map out the fastest multi-mode route utilizing any and all modes of public and private transportation, including bicycles, scooters, buses and ride-hailing…and pay for it just once at the end,” said Michael Stevens, Columbus’ chief innovation officer.

“Bringing multiple modes of transportation together and providing a way to pay for an entire trip on one platform is paramount to bringing innovation and efficiency in the way we provide more access to jobs, education and health care in our communities,” said Joanna Pinkerton, president and CEO of Central Ohio’s Transit Authority, in the release.

The move aligns with initiatives in other U.S. cities under the broad Smart Cities movement, using technology to improve public systems.

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