Contactless payments in transit. We visit Bydgoszcz, Rybnik and Åšwidnica to check the new system

In Wrocław and Gdańsk, we checked how public transport implements a new, more effective payment model for urban transport. No paper tickets, fast, convenient and safe - contactless. Now a similar system has started to operate in another metropolis. We invite you to the report from Bydgoszcz.

According to Visa estimates, Poland has become the first country in the world where all payment terminals handle contactless transactions. In addition, Poles simply liked the use of this type of payment. Of all non-cash transactions with payment cards, as much as 85 percent. it is contactless payments (by card or other device, eg smartphone, watch or band).

Visa statistics showed that Poles were a nation that most often paid at the stadiums of the last World Cup in Russia - in 3 out of 4 cases. What seems natural to us, is often greeted with surprise in western Europe. For example, in Germany, most payments are still made using cash.

Transport enters the contactless era.

It is not surprising that the city authorities - looking at the preferences of Poles - are also happy to introduce contactless payments in urban services, in particular in payments for the use of transport or urban car parks.

The introduction of a new payment system for the use of public transport in Bydgoszcz was preceded by an in-depth analysis of available opportunities in terms of infrastructure, new technologies and global trends.

Passengers want to pay for journeys as close as possible to the means of transport, e.g. at a bus stop or in a vehicle and via the network. The online distribution channel, however, concerns long-term tickets. In the case of one-time and short-term tickets (hourly), we observed the growing popularity of mobile ticket machines in vehicles and stationary at stops - emphasizes Rafał Grzegorzewski Deputy Director for Transport of Municipal Roads and Public Transport in Bydgoszcz.

In addition, the area served by ZDMiKP gradually expanded into neighboring municipalities and new housing estates, which in turn increased the demand for tickets purchased from drivers.

Mobile ticket machines printing tickets are relatively expensive to maintain and not very practical from a service point of view. If they accept cash, they additionally occupy space in the vehicle, require power and generate costs associated with renting a company to receive money - notes Grzegorzewski.

Stationary ticket machines are expensive devices in production because they have to withstand difficult weather conditions. Covering them with all stops would be a big investment challenge.

The solution for ZDMiKP had to be available in every vehicle, cheap to maintain and comfortable for passengers. The contactless payment on vehicles meets all these requirements, and most importantly it is the payment with the same payment card that we use during everyday purchases.

How does the Bydgoszcz system work in practice?

We enter the bus and on the big, touch screen of the ticket validator we choose a ticket or tickets that we want to pay. The transaction is confirmed by the proximity of the card, telephone or watch with contactless payments (eg Apple Pay or Google Pay) - without entering the PIN *. In the blink of an eye, we get confirmation that the trip was paid successfully.

Similarly to Gdańsk or Wrocław, the device does not print a paper ticket or other confirmation, and the payment card becomes a ticket. The system generates a token, which in the case of an audit is used to confirm the payment for the journey. It is enough for the passenger to bring the card or device to which he paid for the trip to the controller reader. The validity of the ticket can also be checked by yourself - by bringing the card closer to the reader, exactly where you bought the ticket, i.e. the ticket validator.

Security of transactions, as before, is guaranteed by payment organizations and a settlement agent with which the Mint of Poland, responsible for implementation, cooperated.

Passengers should not be afraid of buying one ticket and paying for more. It's impossible, just like when shopping in the store. Also, do not be afraid of the controllers. Their readers are not able to reach for any information on the bank card, in addition to its number, which only serves to verify payment for the journey - explains Jacek Sieński, director of the commercial department of the Electronic Payments Division of the Polish Mint.

Contactless means cheaper.

In the Cashless Cities Visa report, she calculated that in the case of traditional ticket systems, the cost of obtaining PLN 100 is over PLN 14. In electronic systems, based on non-cash payments similar to those in Wrocław, it is just over PLN 4. This is not the end of savings.

The natural persons accepting payments with Visa contactless cards are in every public transport vehicle in Bydgoszcz. This solution successfully replaces stationary tickets at stops, mobile and at the same time sales by vehicle service. In addition, the devices do not print tickets, do not collect cash and do not work outside, so they can have a relatively simple and relatively cheap to maintain structure - adds Grzegorzewski.

The city did not pay for the implementation and maintenance of the system in advance or zloty. The Mint is settled on the basis of a discount (8%) on sold tickets.

Contactless payments are fast, convenient and secure. It is a universal solution and easy to implement in public transport - the assembly of devices in vehicles is fast and passengers do not have to make city cards because they usually have contactless payment cards in wallets or telephones - says Maciej Mironiuk from the Warsaw Visa office who is responsible for development of transport payments in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.

We want to convince the residents to use public transport.

The city sees in the new system an incentive for residents to more frequent use of buses and trams.

It happens that the weather will collapse just when we went for a walk. Then we do not have to look around for a kiosk or ticket machine. All we need is a payment card or a phone with contactless payment function - notes Krzysztof Kosiedowski, Spokesperson for ZDMiKP in Bydgoszcz.

We visited Bydgoszcz in the winter. There was no snow on the sidewalks, but the temperature was showing itself. In such a situation it was much more convenient than a phone or a card to pay with a watch or band - without taking off your gloves. Such gadgets also enable contactless payment.

Let us return to Bydgoszcz ambitions, which include the fight against smog, which comes, among others, from private cars. There are 600 cars registered on 1000 Bydgoszcz.

This number will only grow, so by investing in public transport, we want to convince the residents that cars will leave more often in garages - emphasizes Kosiedowski. - Even older Bydgoszczans who have their Senior Council at the City Hall have already found out for contactless payments in transport - adds Kosiedowski.

70 thousand transactions per month

Since September, when the system was introduced, its popularity is constantly growing. Approximately 70,000 are paid on average. monthly tickets for the amount of over 170 thousand. zł. In terms of turnover, this puts the system in second place just behind kiosks. In the back are stationary machines, sales by mobile phone or sales by vehicle service. This proves that passengers appreciate the convenience of this form of payment for the use of urban transport services.

The inhabitants of Bydgoszcz were convinced of the system. We estimate annual sales at the minimum level PLN 2 million, which is about 6.8 percent. all one-off tickets - Grzegorzewski estimates.

Contactless payments in transport are not reserved only for major cities.

From the perspective of Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk or Wrocław, we may think that the city must have hundreds of thousands of residents to think about the contactless payment system in public transport. Nothing could be more wrong.

We checked it on our own skin, going to Bydgoszcz, Pesa, to the south of Poland, to Rybnik.

Rybnik jumped one of the generations of equipment in public transport. Previously tickets were sold at newsagents on the streets, and now more and more often on a bus-like basis. Therefore, the city did not have to deal with the technological debt in the form of large slot machines for coins and banknotes.

The new system has been operating in Rybnik since May 2017.

Although the validators accepting contactless payments look a bit different, the purchase of the ticket takes place on the same basis as in Bydgoszcz and is just as easy. All you need to do is select the ticket you are interested in and bring the card or phone closer.

Money from ticket sales immediately goes to our account. Previously, the process was much longer, because the driver had to give it back, someone else had to recalculate it and secure it - stresses Stanisław Wengerski, Chief Specialist of ZTZ in Rybnik.

Currently, the residents buy in this way about 2 thousand. tickets monthly. There are more and more of them every day - you can see stable growth.

The validator enables a contactless payment for a normal or discounted ticket, as well as checking its validity

Rybnik is also one of the few cities in Poland, where we can settle for the distance actually traveled - from one stop to the next.

The system has been functioning on the basis of the city card since 2006, but we are considering developing it and basing it on the banking system - adds Wengerski.

Rybnik is a pioneer on the Polish market. Today, it serves as an example and source of inspiration for other cities of the Silesian agglomeration (tests of a similar system are carried out by Katowice). When entering a new system, cities can also take advantage of Visa experience.

We educate and support cities in implementations through conferences and direct contacts. We show the benefits: savings or greater availability. We have launched the Visa Global Transit Solutions program to help cities introduce modern methods of payment in transport - emphasizes Mironiuk.

Rybnik is still a relatively big city, it has nearly 130,000. residents. Let's move to half the size of Świdnica.

Świdnica with a new fleet of buses.

Świdnica MPK has been enriched by 9 modern Solaris Urbino buses. On the occasion of modernization, the managers also decided to introduce a new form of payment for tickets based on payment cards. The system was implemented by the Mielec company R & G, which provided a system similar to Rybnik.

The contactless payment in the new validator does not last longer than the cancellation of the paper ticket - emphasizes MPK President, Tomasz Kurzawa. - During the inspection process, the employee will not have full card details and only the last four digits of the card number, which he will compare with the card of the controlled person - adds Kurzawa.

The President of MPK emphasizes, in particular, the time savings resulting from the self-service nature of ticket validators that support contactless payments.

We gain the time that the driver previously devoted to the sale of tickets. Thanks to this we are punctual and we raise safety because the driver is focused on running the bus - says Kurzawa.

Passengers accepted the new system very well. In January and February over 35 percent. tickets sold in buses were purchased through validation cards accepting contactless payments.

Contactless payments are very good not only in metropolises, but also in smaller cities.

But this is not a surprise. Regardless of whether we live in Bydgoszcz, Rybnik or Świdnica, we have the same needs. We want a transparent, fast and convenient model of payment for journeys, available directly in the vehicle. With the use of contactless payments, passengers do not have to register anywhere, their cards are safe, and additionally on the bank account they have full information on how to use the card in communication.

Examples of other cities that have already implemented such a system show that it brings savings to the city and increases the quality of urban transport, which translates into passenger satisfaction. Cities are becoming smart .

Contactless payments are a standard today, which should be available in public transport in every city.

* Some contactless payments require additional verification. More at

The material was created in cooperation with the Visa brand.

Contactless payments in transit. We visit Bydgoszcz, Rybnik and Świdnica to check the new system


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