- Plans to introduce contactless ticketing for transit discussed at recent “The Future of Ticketing – Cairo” panel discussion at Rail Virtual 2020
- Panellists: Eng Abdelwahab Mahmoud, Information Technology and Communication Advisor to the Minister of Transportation; Eng Khaled Mohamed Attia, Chairman and CEO of TransIT; and Ahmed Gaber, Visa GM for North Africa
By ; Shaima Hassan
Fifty-eight percent of commuters would use contactless to pay for transit if the option were available, according to Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments. The comment was made during a recent panel entitled “The Future of Ticketing – Cairo” at the Rail Virtual 2020 conference. Moderated by Essam El Daly, Visa’s Head of Merchant Sales & Acquiring – North Africa, Levant & Pakistan, the panel included Eng Abdelwahab Mahmoud, Information Technology and Communication Advisor to the Minister of Transportation; Eng Khaled Mohamed Attia, Chairman and CEO of TransIT; and Ahmed Gaber, Visa General Manager for North Africa.
During the discussion, Eng Abdelwahab Mahmoud, Information Technology and Communication Advisor to the Minister of Transportation, spoke about the importance of the transport sector for Egyptians and that delivering an efficient service is a key priority for the Ministry of Transport under the leadership of His Excellency Minister Lieutenant General Kamel el-Wazir, and how the Ministry is taking steps to introduce an open loop system across all transit companies in both the public and private sectors. Open loop, contactless ticketing allows customers to use the same contactless card or device they use every day to turn up, tap and travel, helping save valuable time by avoiding the need to pre-purchase a ticket, manage a standalone transit card, or stand in line to reload their fare card.
According to a Visa Transit Study conducted in early 2020, 58% of commuters surveyed in Cairo would likely switch to contactless payment methods for transit if the option were available. Because the study was done pre-COVID, the findings are not reflective of the pandemic’s impact.
However, another Visa survey conducted during COVID-19 showed a marked increase in preference among Egyptians for digital payments, especially contactless technology. According to results of Visa’s “Stay Secure” survey, published recently, 86% of consumers trust contactless technology and 83% of Egyptians said that they will continue to use contactless more, suggesting also strong commuter preference for the convenience and security a contactless transit payment solution would offer.
Essam El Daly, Visa’s Head of Merchant Sales & Acquiring – North Africa, Levant & Pakistan, stated: “Visa has successfully supported governments, transport operators, and technical partners in delivering seamless, secure digital payment solutions across transit systems. Open loop ticketing is an important example of how payment innovation can not only transform the passenger experience, encouraging more people to adopt greener forms of travel, but also help make transit more efficient and cities more connected. More Egyptians preferring and expecting fast, secure and hassle-free payment experiences in all aspects of their lives and transportation is no exception – it must be easy to use to ensure adoption. And with increasing preference for contactless payments, there is significant opportunity to leverage technology to improve their daily journeys and life in our cities.”
Eng Abdelwahab Mahmoud, Information Technology and Communication Advisor to the Minister of Transportation, stated: “One of the Egyptian government's main objectives is to achieve financial inclusion and promote digital commerce, and we believe that in a megacity like Cairo, an efficient public transit system is a key driver for any digital transformation. We have already witnessed a change in consumer behaviour towards digital payments, and we want to build a world class transport system that focuses on passenger experience and innovation to further cement this behaviour amongst more Egyptians.”
Eng Khaled Mohamed Attia, Chairman and CEO of TransIT, said, “Open loop ticketing is an innovative solution that eliminates failure points to enhance the overall user journey. To ensure success, there are few important elements we need to consider – these include upgrading gates and back office operations, evaluating changes in fare calculation engine; and connectivity. For public transit operators not migrating to open loop right now, our advice is to consider implement EMV readers to make it future proof and save significant amount when eventually moving to open-loop ticketing.”
Visa has developed two Urban Mobility Frameworks as part of its innovative solutions to improve the user experience in the transportation sector. Firstly, the Known Fare Transaction, is a simple contactless-only solution for environments with high passenger throughput, which expedites the process. Whereas, the Mass Transit Transaction (MTT) is an adaptable contactless-only solution with a framework that enables complex, multi-model ticketing in environments, like Egypt, where transaction speed is critical.
Visa has also launched the Visa Ready program for all of its vendors in the transportation sector. This program aims to drive an ecosystem approach for emerging payment solutions around standards and reliability, so that overall efficiency improves. Once vendors have completed the program and are Visa Ready certified, they will begin promoting Visa’s products/solutions. Accordingly, the integration of the vendors into the system will be seamless, with a smaller margin for error. Additionally, the time frame needed for implementation will also be much shorter.
Visa already has countless transit solutions up and running in over 280 cities and 60 cities going live in 2019 alone.