New Jersey Transit has become the first public transportation operator to announce plans to enable travellers to pay for fares with Google Wallet-enabled NFC phones.
NJ Transit, the third largest provider of bus, rail and light rail transit services in the US with services linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia, is the first public transportation operator to sign up for Google Wallet. Utah Transit Authority is also to allow travellers to pay for fares with their NFC phones, via a deal with mobile network operator-owned NFC venture Isis, from next year.
The move to accepting payments via Google Wallet is a "public-private partnership with Google Inc," says NJ Transit, and "was developed at no cost to NJ Transit."
Travellers will be able to use Google Wallet to purchase travel tickets at New York Penn Station ticket vending machines and ticket windows, Newark Liberty International Airport Station (AirTrain) and on bus routes 6, 43, 80, 81, 87, and 120 as well as some buses on the 126 line.
"Our partnership with Google demonstrates that NJ Transit and the state are at the forefront of emerging technology, paving the way for further exploration of new customer service technologies," said New Jersey governor Chris Christie. "I'm proud that New Jersey's public transportation system is the very first public transportation agency to partner with Google Wallet, joining thousands of retailers accepting Wallet across the nation."
"We are putting the latest technology to work for our customers and improve the overall customer experience, which is one of the areas of focus of our Scorecard initiative," added NJ Transit executive director James Weinstein. "By partnering with Google, we are leading the industry with emerging technologies that will streamline the way customers buy their transportation tickets."
"Transit has been a common element of every major successful NFC effort globally and is a critical component of Google Wallet's success," said Stephanie Tilenius, vice president of commerce at Google. "Transit is the fastest way to accelerate adoption and reach usage density in major urban centers by habituating the behavior of tapping and paying with phones, and we're excited to launch our transit effort here with NJ Transit."
NJ Transit has previously been involved in testing payments via contactless cards in conjunction with Visa, MTA New York City Transit and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The pilot also allowed commuters on the Lexington Avenue subway line to pay fares with NFC-equipped mobile phones.