Home Public Finance STL to offer contactless credit card option on buses starting next year

STL to offer contactless credit card option on buses starting next year

Transit agency partners with payment solution experts for another first

In yet another public transit industry first in Quebec, the Société de transport de Laval (STL) announced last week that it will be rolling out a new scalable payment system, making it possible to use credit cards and eventually debit cards on all STL buses.

A partnership

The initiative, which was announced during a webcast from Laval city hall, follows in the footsteps of a pilot project, still underway, which was launched as a Canadian first in April 2017 jointly with Mouvement Desjardins.

“Contactless payments foster impulse decisions to take the bus and instantly offset some of the main obstacles to using the bus,” said STL president Éric Morasse.

Although Mouvement Desjardins is pulling out as a payment solution provider for public transit, and its agreement with the STL ends on Oct. 31 next year, France-based Flowbird is stepping in to supply contactless payment terminals and an operating system in conjunction with Canada’s Moneris payment processing corporation, which will be coordinating the transactions.

Beginning next summer

The new project is supported and funded by the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) regional transit authority, and will make it possible to outfit the entire fleet of STL buses with the credit card payment system as early as summer 2021, if everything goes smoothly.

‘We are extremely proud of the team we have assembled for this ambitious project focused on modernizing public transit payment systems,’ says STL president Éric Morasse

Like the current system, the new payment solution will accept Visa and Mastercard payments, and will be compatible with most smartphone contactless payment applications.

Considered to be more modern and scalable than the current Desjardins system, the new payment solution will include smart transit transfers and will eventually be able to gradually include more features, including contactless debit card payments and more types of credit card.

As has been the case in the past with new public transit technologies first introduced by the STL and adopted later by other Quebec-based transit authorities, the STL’s new scalable payment system is also expected to catch on.

Fostering transit use

“We are extremely proud of the team we have assembled for this ambitious project focused on modernizing public transit payment systems across the province,” said STL president Éric Morasse, who sits on the City of Laval’s executive-committee as an associate member.

The wireless credit card payment terminals that are expected to be installed on STL buses beginning next year should look like this.

“Contactless payments foster impulse decisions to take the bus and instantly offset some of the main obstacles to using the bus, especially when transiting from different transport modes,” added Morasse. “How much does it cost? Where can I buy a bus ticket? More than ever, given the current situation, we need to do our utmost to keep public transit top-of-mind with Laval commuters.”

“Improving the public transit offering is one of the best ways to protect our environment,” said Mayor Marc Demers.

‘A priority,’ says Mayor Demers

“It is definitely a priority for our administration. When innovation not only makes it possible to improve services for our citizens, but to also contribute to protecting the environment, I believe it is an undertaking worth applauding.”

Contactless bank cards have become the most popular means of paying for everyday purchases,” noted Flowbird CEO Bertrand Barthelemy, while adding that the new payment system will effectively make it possible to use a bank card as a bus pass.

“In Laval, occasional riders will no longer need to purchase a bus pass in advance or find a ticket vending machine,” he continued.

Contactless in pandemic

“These payment solutions greatly facilitate travel. And it’s all contactless, which users find reassuring during these pandemic times. Our solution is tried and proven and includes infinite possibilities to add new ticketing features in the next few years.”

According to Pasquale Pizzi, vice-president of national accounts at Moneris, the Moneris Transit open payment system will securely process fare payments made with a credit card or smartphone and will facilitate the entire management of contactless interactions in STL vehicles. “We are pleased to partner with Flowbird in this innovative project by offering greater flexibility to STL users,” he said.

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