Cubic Joins City Possible to Help Keep Cities Moving
The pandemic has dramatically altered the way we move around in cities and urban spaces, especially in deeply affected countries and regions, where strict lockdown measures and travel restrictions left normally bustling streets, busy commercial districts and crowded subways eerily deserted. Recent studies indicate that trust in public transportation and ride hailing has declined across seven key markets but societies are seeking safe solutions to help boost the use of these shared modes of transport, reduce emissions, pollution, and congestion; and restore affordable transportation to everyone.
City leaders will need to adapt to this new reality: reduced commutes and a virtual workforce will impact transit and retail, business closures and entertainment activities shuttered will slash budget from decreased sales tax, and an increased focus on accommodating public health concerns will demand changes to urban design. In many cases, that’s prompted them to accelerate the move to digital through contactless payments, mobile ticketing and transit apps. These capabilities will not only help cities endure and emerge from this crisis, but are key to future-proofing our urban centers.
To accelerate the deployment of innovative solutions that solve for the new normal, Cubic is joining the City Possible network. City Possible is a partnership model led by Mastercard that helps over 180+ cities develop shareable solutions to common problems that advance inclusive and sustainable urban development. By collaborating with cities to better understand the challenges they are facing, the companies will equip them with the tools, technology, and resources required to ensure their visitors and residents remain safe and thrive.
This partnership builds on Mastercard’s commitment to make cities more efficient and more sustainable – but most importantly – safe and convenient for the people who live in and visit them. Working with partners like Cubic across the urban mobility ecosystem, Mastercard is helping cities deliver simple and convenient no-touch transit experiences using the payment method that riders already carry with them.
As contactless payments in transit become widespread, transit agencies also want to ensure they are offering their riders the option to transact in a closed system – while providing an experience that is safe, simple, and state of the art. In response, Mastercard and Cubic have partnered to provision virtual transit cards in digital wallets using Mastercard’s tokenization solution. Leveraging Mastercard’s tokenization solution, a transit card can be digitized and loaded into a user’s digital wallet – where it can be used to make contactless transactions at turnstiles/gates and onboard vehicles of that particular transit system. Consumers simply tap their device for transit access, eliminating the need to carry a physical transit card. This capability is further enhanced by using globally interoperable EMV standards for both “open loop” and “closed loop” systems, creating operational efficiencies for the transit agencies.
Earlier this month, Cubic and Mastercard partnered to make the digital Ventra Card in Chicago more accessible by making it available to users of certain smart devices. Chicago Transit Authority is the second largest transit agency by ridership in the US with over 468 million unlinked passenger trips in 2018. This builds on the work Mastercard has done in partnership with Cubic to bring contactless “open loop” EMV technology to transit agencies in cities like Chicago globally – from London, where over half of all Pay As You Go transactions on Transport for London’s system are made via contactless payments, to New York City, where the New York MTA recently announced that they surpassed 21 million taps on their OMNY contactless fare payment system, which was launched in May 2019.
No matter the preferred solution, the partnership between Cubic and Mastercard will help more transit systems move to digital payments, and riders and cities will reap the rewards. The same digital technologies that enable safer, low-contact transit in a public health crisis offer numerous benefits for a digital future, including operator cost efficiencies, easing crowding and bottlenecks, making city transit more visitor-friendly and providing the next-level convenience customers are beginning to demand. Digitizing now secures the public transit networks of the future, allowing cities and their residents to evolve and thrive for decades to come.