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  • Payment
  • France

When Payment Cards Also Act as Tram Tickets

Regardless of their choice of bank, commuters may now rely on their contactless payment card to validate their journeys directly on board two tram lines in Dijon. This new open payment service springs from a partnership between the local Caisse d’Epargne, Visa, Worldline, Keolis and Dijon Métropole. The idea is to enable occasional passengers, including tourists, to travel without having to buy a ticket beforehand.

After London, Dijon is the second town in Europe to implement a service where payment cards are also used to validate public transport tickets. This capital has been selected for a good reason: the number of travels per capita is particularly high (180 travels, while the national average is 130).

When stepping in the tram, the commuter can validate his journey by tapping his contactless payment card, mobile phone or smartwatch on the dedicated terminal. Tickets’ prices are adjusted based on the number of daily travels: 1.30 euro per journey (valid for 1 hour), and €3.90 maximum price for a daily pass. The traveller’s card number is encrypted by Natixis Payment Solutions; a token is used to track his journeys so the relevant pricing scale can be applied. During inspections, the payment card acts as a transportation ticket for verification.

This service should be made available in Dijon buses in September, prior to being implemented throughout all Keolis operated networks by mid-2019. Worldline is considering additional use cases beyond public transportation.

Comments – Open payments gaining France too

According to a study released in November by the European Central Bank, French people are among customers who use cash the least in Europe. Contactless adoption levels have been encouraging, and among the main reasons why this open payment project now sees the day. The concept has been implemented as early as in 2012 in the UK. In London, commuters can already pay for metro tickets using a similar, and successful, system: in November 2017, Visa reported that their contactless cards had been used to pay for 1 billion journeys.

This French project first aims to attract 700,000 to 800,000 travels per year. Applying an open payment system may also help fight fraud cases (-8 to 10%). Yet, this system still has some flaws: it does not allow groups to validate their journeys at once (families for instance). And some cards are rejected due to missing technical features.