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Ticketing technology is boosting visitor experiences

The surprising benefits of Open Payment  

For tourists, visiting a new country brings the promise of exciting new experiences – the sights, flavors and sounds of new worlds to explore. But for many cities, these experiences are hobbled by barriers beyond language and currency. Some systems may fail to meet riders’ needs and expectations, causing frustration at the point of sale, and leading to more challenging journeys, congestion and negative visitor sentiment. 

The need to modernize transit systems is increasing as countries seek to accommodate pent-up demand from travelers while attempting to capture a piece of the nearly $1.4 trillion international tourism market. 

The power of Open Payments 

Open Payment Systems in public transportation allow passengers to use debit or credit cards, smartphones and other contactless devices to pay for their travel, bypassing the need for specialized transit cards or tickets. This system integrates with the existing financial ecosystem, leveraging near-field communication (NFC) technology, to facilitate direct payment from the rider to the transport authority or operator. By enabling a more seamless and efficient payment process, Open Payment Systems modernize public transit, making it more accessible and user-friendly. 

Likewise, Open Payment Systems are built on open platforms and use published APIs to provide more flexibility, lower development costs and longer-term value. 

Optimizing transit systems for visitors, especially payments for fare collection, has measurable benefits for cities that adopt them.

Fare freedom: How Open Payments modernize operations 

For occasional users  

  • Ease of use for visiting passengers
  • Flexible payment systems that can adapt to irregular travel schedules without the commitment to a specific fare or ticket type 
  • Added accessibility for public transportation without special tickets or apps 

For transport authorities 

  • Cost savings from fewer cash processes and card types
  • Improved quality of service via accelerated boarding times  
  • Increased ridership as the ease and modernity of open payments attract more users to public transportation 

Improving access and mobility in France 

In 2023, the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropole was preparing to host several large events, including the Rugby World Cup games and a visit from Pope Francis. The influx of tourists in and around the city required the guarantee of access as well as a satisfactory experience for both tourists and residents.  

Making public transportation accessible was a priority for the President of the Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropole, Martine Vassal. Easy access would provide tourists with the ability to buy and validate tickets without being familiar with the local ticketing offers and tariffs in Marseille, knowing where to buy or queue for tickets, or needing to carry cash. 

Through a partnership with Conduent Transportation, the city implemented an Open Payment ticketing solution using Tap and Pay to provide smooth public transit experiences to all travelers, especially occasional ones and tourists who pay and validate their journeys with contactless bank cards, smartphones and connected smartwatches instead of paper tickets. 

The Open Payment Solution serves buses, coaches, trams and the metro. After a successful test period over the summer of 2023, with a panel of more than 700 travelers on three lines of airport buses, the solution was gradually scaled out across the entire metropolitan network in time for the start of the Rugby World Cup.  

Increasingly, this approach to transit has emerged as an important tool for making urban mobility more efficient, more sustainable and more appealing for both regular and occasional customers as they want more seamless and secure travel experiences.  

Use of the service has grown steadily. In four months, more than one million taps were made with Open Payment, according to Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropole. More than 30% of occasional travelers now validate their tickets with their bank card, smartphone or smartwatch. And during the Rugby World Cup’s England vs. Argentina game, the number of taps increased 400%. In total, 20% of attendees used Open Payment on their journey to the stadium. 

Globally, Conduent Transportation powered 24 million taps across more than 80,000 validators in France, Italy, Australia, Belgium, the United States, the Netherlands, and Mexico

The adoption of contactless payment systems represents a pivotal shift in urban transit, catering to the needs of commuters and tourists alike. By embracing this technology, cities can improve perceptions among residents and visitors, solidifying their status as vibrant, forward-thinking urban destinations. 

Ready to discover how Conduent Transportation can help modernize payment solutions for your city while improving experiences for both residents and tourists? Reach out to an expert now or learn more by visiting