28 Jun 2021

Sacramento gives the green light to contactless transit payments

The city’s Green Line is the state of California’s first light rail line to accept tap-to-ride payments with a contactless card or digital wallet.

Littlepay is pleased to announce its role as transit payment processor for a demonstration of contactless EMV transit payments on the Sacramento Regional Transit District’s (SacRT) light rail network. The first phase of the project, which is part of a collaboration with Caltrans’ California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP), begins today on Green Line light rail trains, operating in downtown Sacramento. In the coming weeks, the system will be rolled out across all light rail services.

A collaborative approach

Littlepay’s transit payments platform plugs-and-plays with a range of ticketing technology and financial institutions to deliver an end-to-end contactless ticketing solution. For this demo, payments management platform Cybersource, a Visa solution, provides a connection to Elavon U.S. for acquiring services, while card validation technology is supplied by SC Soft and Feig. The modular system meets the needs of SacRT and Cal-ITP to deliver a demo quickly and simply that will generate valuable live data to inform future contactless ticketing strategy.

Tap-to-ride simplicity and convenience

Riders using SacRT’s Green Line light rail trains can now simply tap their contactless credit, debit, prepaid card or digital wallet on readers as they board. For each journey on the line, they will pay a flat fare initially. SacRT is looking into daily and discount fare options in the future.

Simple fares and automatic fare caps are compelling benefits of tap-to-pay transit, bringing riders a hassle-free passenger experience with guaranteed value. There are other advantages too, like the convenience of using the same contactless card or device to pay for transit as you do for shopping, or eating out. With contactless card issuance skyrocketing and adoption of contactless payments fast-tracked by the pandemic, tap-to-pay for transit makes sense.

California’s state-wide goals for transit

There are hundreds of public transit providers in California, with no single system for collecting fares. This lack of uniformity creates barriers for new riders, complicates travel across different systems, and increases expenses for individual providers. Cal-ITP is a statewide solution to make travel planning and payments simpler and more cost-effective for transit providers and riders.

The SacRT demonstration follows the successful launch of the state’s first contactless payment demonstration on Monterey-Salinas Transit last month to kick off a series of demonstrations in the state to provide proof points of the positive impact of open-loop systems in providing cost efficiency for transit agencies and improving passenger experience.


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