June 19, 2021

The future of urban transport is 'contactless' | Trends

The future of urban transport is 'contactless' | Trends


Today, 70% of Spaniards already live in a city. This trend is compounded by the boom that tourism is experiencing: just last year, our country received an incredible 82 million tourists. The conjunction of these phenomena is resulting in increasingly congested cities, which must be more efficient than ever to ensure the quality of the services of its citizens.

As a consequence, metropolitan transport faces an important challenge. In a moment of budgetary limitation, the means of transport must find a way to be more effective than ever, and for this the use of the financial card with technology contactless As a system of payment and validation of the ticket for convenient and safe transportation, it plays a fundamental role. After all, the use and acceptance of this technology are increasingly widespread, thanks to the improvement of the user experience, together with the high security standards already common in card payment.

In this sense, the future of transport goes through the implementation of this system, as an integrated solution for the access and payment ticket. And we believe that because of its innumerable advantages. In the first place, it would entail greater operational efficiency, and would allow transport authorities to enjoy the advantages of digital innovation, such as greater optimization of their services or greater knowledge of user behavior. In addition, it would contribute to sustainable growth, generating cities that are better connected and more respectful of the environment.

To be a success, these new models must have a system around the ticket with agile access, as well as having a scalable and interoperable system. And in addition, they must meet the expectations of a user accustomed to the convenience, simplification and customization that allows the digitalization of services. However, there is no doubt that this is a big challenge, for which public administrations and private companies must deal together.

One of our most notorious collaborations, Transport for London, is a case of success, with very positive results: more than 12 million journeys are made in London contactless weekly, and 40% of the transactions in the metro are already without contact. But in addition, a very significant fact is the reduction of 35% in the collection costs, which supposes more than 100 million pounds of annual savings.

No need to go so far, in Spain, during the successful pilot with Banco Santander and the Madrid Municipal Transport Company (EMT) carried out a year and a half ago, the user's perception was unbeatable, and accounts for the great acceptance of this technology and the enormous interest of betting on it to generate a transport that responds to the needs of its customers. In fact, after the aforementioned pilot, a platform for the management of electronic payments in all EMT services is already in the process of being implemented, so that users, in a few months, will be able to validate and pay for the ticket in one single gesture with your financial card or your mobile device.

All in all, the transport sector is at an exciting time. The digital revolution, together with the entry into the scene of other modes of urban mobility, draw a scenario of change that must be used to make our cities grow. It is a great opportunity to improve the quality of the services offered to citizens, transforming the payment to create a public transport of quality, more efficient, sustainable and inclusive.

Paloma Real is the general director of Mastercard España.

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