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California's first contactless transit payment system goes live

Gabby Fernie
(Credit: Monterey-Salinas Transit)

Payment platform Littlepay has announced it is providing payment processing for a contactless payment demonstration on Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) buses, launching today.

For the first time in California, passengers can pay for journeys using their contactless debit, credit, prepaid card, or payment-enabled device.

The initiative is part of the Caltrans-led California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP) to improve travel planning and transit payments throughout the state.

Caltrans, in collaboration with Visa, is working with Cybersource, a Visa solution, Littlepay, SC Soft and Elavon to provide state-of-the-art ticketing and payment technology.

The passenger benefits of contactless payments include speedier transaction times and the ease of using a bank card or smartphone instead of handling cash. Crucially, during the pandemic, tap-to-pay technology provides a safe and easy experience for both riders and transit operators seeking limited physical touchpoints and face-to-face interactions. 

Using Littlepay’s merchant portal, MST has also configured daily, weekly and 31-day fare caps to create cost savings for frequent riders.

“This project is exciting for Littlepay as it’s our first deployment in the U.S. We’re confident it will show small- to medium-sized transit agencies around the country that seamless payment experiences are not just for the biggest cities. We’re looking forward to MST’s passengers using the system and enjoying the benefits” said CEO of Littlepay, Amin Shayan.