NJ Transit riders will have a new option for getting around New Jersey. The state’s transit authority is beginning to implement a new ‘Tap N Pay’ program that will allow users to pay for rides with their mobile phones or cards that have a special chip.
As part of the project, more than 500 ticket vending machines, 200 platform validators and 65 fare gates will be refreshed to accept payments via mobile phones and contactless bank cards. Conduent will also add 2,500 validators on buses so riders tap to validate or pay their fare.
Conduent spun out from Xerox and now manages the bulk of what was Xerox’s public sector business.
Conduent’s contract with NJ TRANSIT began earlier this year and will include four phases over a five-year period. The company’s travel account system, once upgraded, will securely process all user transactions, deducting fares from riders’ account balances, recognizing a monthly plan or directly debiting their payment card, or their PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay account. Customers will also be able to access their transit accounts to view transaction details and manage their travel expenses.
Other payment providers including MasterCard have been involved with cashless payment trials in the tri-state as some of the nation’s busiest transit hubs try to manage increased demand and aging payment machines. Contactless payments, however, aren’t a perfect solution. Critics have warned that moving transit systems to all cashless options will effectively remove transit options for people who collect change for individual rides. It could also create problems for the elderly who may not be as tech savvy as other riders.
Millions of Americans currently live without bank accounts and others do not have smartphones. In New York, transit officials are studying ways to make it possible to add money to municipal ID cards for those that may not have debit cards or smartphones, although no substantial trials are currently underway.