The capital of Lower Silesia has just gained one of the most advanced public transportation payment systems in the world
March 8th, 2018, will be one for the history books for the Polish payment market. That's when Wrocław implemented a new ticket system based on a similar solution that has been around in London for several years now. Wrocław is the first major city in Poland to choose this innovation. Its main feature and one of its biggest advantages is the possibility to pay for a trip using a contactless card, which becomes the traveler's ticket. This means that the system does not require printing a paper ticket as proof of paying for the trip.
The new system is operated by Mennica Polska, which designed and implemented it in cooperation with First Data Polcard, who acts as the payment agent and processor. The system uses Mastercard’s and Visa's solutions that enable buying and controlling tickets with contactless cards. The payment solution for validating machines that accept contactless cards was provided by Centreo.
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As I already mentioned, Wrocław's project is the first open payment system implemented in a city as big as the Lower Silesia capital and covering the whole urban area. - This project shows that transportation is a strategic area of development for cashless payments using contactless technology for First Data - says company board member Krzysztof Polończyk. Similar projects have already been implemented in smaller cities, such as Jaworzno, Rybnik, Świebodzice, and more recently Łódź, where the system is being tested on two tramway lines.
How will it work? Wrocław's public transportation vehicles have been equipped with new validation and payment terminals. The traveler will select the type of ticket they want on the screen and hold their payment card, smartphone or Urbancard against it. The validator will turn the card number and transaction info into a token - a safe and anonymous string of numbers - and send it to the system's central computer. Then it will be transferred to First Data, who will authorize it and clear the transaction.
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- Ticket control will be performed using a mobile reader and will include verifying that a card is assigned a token in the central system, which means it was used to pay for the trip. The controller's device will only be able to check the validity of the ticket. No other information related to the card will be available to the controller - says Kamila Kaliszczyk, Mastercard Europe's development manager for the Polish market.
Jakub Kiwior, Visa’s general manager for Poland and Hungary, stresses that according to the latest research done by his company, 9 out of 10 Poles have performed at least one contactless payment. - Wrocław's contactless payment accepting validators are one of the most modern machines of this type in Europe. I’m absolutely sure that the passengers will quickly grow fond of the new public transportation ticket payment system - he says.
Interestingly enough, several other Polish cities are already working on introducing similar solutions in their public transport. This includes Białystok, Bydgoszcz and Trójmiasto. Warsaw is also considering updating its ticket system, but the manager of the company operating the Polish capital's transport system has recently cooled down our expectations, saying that changing the current system will take several years.