Italian transit operator AMT along with Visa have launched a pilot of open-loop fares payments, enabling multipassenger fare capping for the first time in Italy.
Italy is among countries with the largest contactless open-loop payments footprint globally, with transit operators in such major cities as Rome, Milan, Naples, Turin and Venice having launched open-loop fare payments or planning to do so. All or most of those projects offer fare capping–daily, and in some cases, monthly passes.
• AMT (Genoa)
Italian transit operator AMT along with Visa have launched a pilot of open-loop fares payments, enabling multipassenger fare capping for the first time in Italy–and probably for one of the first times globally.
The launch of the pilot last week in Genoa, Italy’s sixth largest city, enables customers to tap the same card or NFC wallet to pay for up to four passengers. The fares for these passengers could then be capped for the day if the same card or wallet is tapped for a certain number of additional rides. The project mainly targets tourists and other occasional visitors in Genoa and the surrounding Liguria Region.
“This is the first time for best fares (being) applicable to groups in Italy, therefore, four people can travel with the same card for one day and get the 24-hour tariff,” a Visa spokesman told Mobility Payments.
Italy is among countries with the largest contactless open-loop payments footprint globally, with transit operators in such major cities as Rome, Milan, Naples, Turin and Venice having launched open-loop fare payments or planning to do so. Update: In all, there are 21 live open-loop projects in Italy, according to Visa. At least some of those projects offer fare capping–daily, and in a small number of cases, monthly passes. End Update.
Visa calls the open-loop service in Genoa an “experimental project,” with the first phase including validators installed at 10 bus stops in the city. Customers can tap their contactless EMV credit and debit cards or card credentials in NFC wallets for such services as Apple Pay and Google Pay. The customers tap before boarding buses on readers embedded in “smart totems,” or physical posts, at bus stops. There are also some airport bus lines that have validators on board the actual buses, according to Visa.
Visa is working with fare-collection system vendor Conduent Transportation on the project; as well as Cybersource, a Visa-owned processor, payments service provider and fraud management company; and Elavon, which has served as an acquirer for other open-loop projects.
Visa is obviously taking an active role in the Genoa project. When asked by Mobility Payments if Visa was funding it, the spokesman said the pilot is a “joint effort between Visa and AMT, with Visa being the technological partner of the solution.”
Visa and AMT said another 20 smart totems would be deployed in Genoa this summer, and a total of 45 of the totems and other validators would eventually be installed for the project.
Neither AMT nor Visa explained the reason for embedding the validators inside the smart totems at the bus stops and not on board buses themselves. Perhaps that was to reduce the number of validators needed. But according to the open-loop payment materials on AMT’s website, the setup would mean transit agency staffers will conduct ticket checks on customers.
When this happens, the customers would have to tell staffers the last four digits of their credit or debit cards or the four digits displayed on their tokenized card credentials stored in their mobile wallet apps. The customers might also have to tell the verification staff the brand on the card and might even be required to provide up to the first six digits of the card. The agency, however, said it would not collect any personal or sensitive data from cardholders or their cards.
AMT said the pilot service now accepts both Visa and Mastercard credit cards and Visa debit cards, along with credentials on Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Mastercard-owned Maestro debit cards would be accepted later, according to the agency.
For single riders, AMT said it will offer daily capping after the third tap, which then, in effect, turns the contactless card or NFC wallet into a €4.50 (US$5.09) daily ticket.
To pay for more than one passenger, customers would tap once then tap again within a few seconds up to four times. As many as four passengers could then benefit from the best fare for the whole group.
For example, for two people, on the third tap within 24 hours for both riders, the €4.50 daily rate would apply to both, said AMT. And for groups of three or four people, the daily rate for the groups would be a total of €9.00 after the second tap within 24 hours for all users, according to the agency.
The transit operator noted it will still accept paper tickets, but digital tickets purchased when customers use their contactless open-loop cards or NFC wallets would have a longer validity time.
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