A number of transit systems worldwide have signed contracts with fare solutions vendor Cubic to modernize their collection methods — that includes accepting contactless payment mediums like Google Pay. But for those who rely on a weekly or monthly pass to commute on the metro, they’ve still had to resort to a physical Oyster or Clipper or what-have-you card. Now, Cubic and Google are working together to allow Google Pay to take in transit cards.
This means that instead of using a bankcard or your Google Pay balance to continually pay your fare (and potentially missing out on zone- or frequency-based savings schemes), you’ll be able to use the system’s own transit card through your phone at NFC faregates. You can use and reload prepaid value onto the card or go for multi-ride or time-based passes if you so wish.
Cubic says it is actively working to enhance its current modernization work for its current contracted agencies. In a supplied statement, Google specifically mentions that it looks to support the Clipper Card — in use at 22 agencies across the San Francisco Bay Area. An executive for OMNY also gave positive remarks about implementing Google Pay into the New York MTA’s next-gen fare collection system.
Both Apple Pay and Google Pay support transit passes, but take-up has been slow as many transport providers have been left to figure out how to update their fare collection — as far as we know, TriMet in Portland, Oregon, is the only agency in the U.S. to make its card available on both mobile platforms. As Cubic is a large-scale contractor, it is able to deploy APIs to more customers in a timely fashion.
That said, many transport networks are either only beginning or are still phasing towards next-gen fare collection, so you might have to wait a while to use your transit card with Google Pay.