Google expands support for transit cards on NFC mobile phones

NFC smartphone being read by transit terminal
SMART MOVE: The deal will enable Google Pay users to add their transit card to their Android NFC phone

A new deal between Google and Cubic Transportation Systems is set to make it possible for public transport users in a number of major cities around the world to use Google Pay to add their transit card to their NFC mobile phone.

“Working with Cubic will help us simplify the commute for Google Pay users in several major transit systems — including support for Clipper cards in the San Francisco Bay Area,” says Ambarish Kenghe, director of product management for Google Pay.

“Ultimately, our goal is to make riding public transit seamless and convenient for as many people as we can.”

The deal will “open the door for further enhancement of the contactless payment technology already available in cities such as London, New York and Miami,” Cubic says.

Passengers will be able to “add transit cards to Google Pay, securely reload funds and purchase tickets directly from their mobile device — eliminating the need for a physical transit card”.

The technology also “provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ for travellers to access real-time schedules for trip planning, a simplified way to purchase and select the right fare, as well as real-time notifications and alerts”.

“This collaboration between Google and Cubic will help us build on the success we’ve seen so far with contactless payments here in New York,” says Al Putre, executive director of New York’s Omny contactless fare payment programme, which went live in May 2019.

“We want to do everything we can to make sure our riders have the best options available and the MTA welcomes this kind of innovative ticketing solution.”

Google Pay has supported Mifare transit cards since 2018 and has been live on the Las Vegas Monorail since March 2018, TriMet’s Hop Fastpass in Portland, Oregon, since April 2018 and the UK’s Network West Midlands since November 2018.

“Today’s travellers seek more choices, flexibility and personalisation — which is why we strive to develop innovative mobile transit payment solutions to enable seamless and convenient travel experiences,” says Bradley H Feldmann, Cubic’s chief executive officer.

“In addition to the traveller benefits our agreement will provide, we are proud to offer a solution that will reduce costs, as well as increase efficiencies and ridership for transit agencies.”