Transport for New South Wales has teamed up with a partnership that includes Commonwealth Bank, Mastercard and Amazon to launch a program that aims to improve customer experience in public transport in areas such as payments.
Described as the Future Transport Digital Accelerator, the initiative will look at ways to streamline the end-to-end consumer experience by including different ‘mobility models’ that will improve the experiences for both residents and visitors.
Based at the Sydney start-up hub at Wynyard Green – a $35 million investment from NSW Government - CBA will also support the program with access to its technology, processes and innovation lab facilities.
The first focus area for the program will be exploring “mobility as a service” for users of NSW public transport, the state’s transport minister Andrew Constance said in a statement.
Mobility as a service allows consumers to plan, book and pay for their travel through on platform or app.
“We are partnering with some of the most innovative banks, technology and telco companies in the world, continuing our commitment to opening up the communication lines between innovators and government,” Constance said.
“Sydney is known as Australia’s fintech capital and now we want to put in on the map globally as the capital for Transport Tech.”
The partnership follows a successful pilot of Mastercard contactless payments on the F1 Manly Ferry, and the subsequent rollout of contactless transit payments across all Sydney Ferries and light rail services.
During the trial Mastercard worked with Transport for New South Wales to ensure implementation of the technology; facilitating more than 15,000 tap-and-go fare payments for card holders from more than 40 countries.
RFi Group head of payments Alex Boorman described the initiative as “exciting” with wider implications for the take-up of contactless payments.
“It is a holistic/multi-stakeholder approach that should transport challenges. We would see mobile devices being integral to the response here and other cities around the world have already seen significant uptake of transport ticketing payments via mobile,” Boorman said.
According to RFi Group research, the ability to use contactless payments on public transport will be key to shifting consumer behaviour - highlighted by consumers using London’s transport network.
In 2014, the network went open-loop, which meant that London commuters could pay to use the transport system using debit and credit cards as well as Apple Pay or Android.
According to the RFi Group study, this had a big impact on the usage of mobile payments. In 2015, 19 per cent of consumers used mobile wallet payments but in 2016, this had increased to 38 per cent of consumers.