Bus passengers in Hämeenlinna, Finland, now benefitting from contactless EMV payments
By introducing contactless EMV payments on buses in Hämeenlinna, the local transport authority hopes to make bus travel easier and subsequently incentivise more people to choose public transport.
Public transport passengers in the Finnish city of Hämeenlinna that utilise the Hämeenlinna Regional Public Transport Authority’s bus services are now benefitting from the launch of contactless EMV payments.
The rollout – which was undertaken in collaboration with the Hämeenlinna Regional Public Transport Authority, TVV lippu- ja maksujärjestelmä Oy (LMJ), and Littlepay – will extend across all nine of the authority’s bus companies, to make payments simpler for passengers and to encourage more use of public transport in the city.
Currently, around one million passengers per year use these bus routes – this is approximately a third less than in pre-COVID-19 pandemic times. Creating a seamless ticketing system is one way for the local authority to make bus travel easier and to incentivise more people to leave their cars at home.
Convenience for passengers
Kim Venesjärvi, Public Transport Coordinator at the Hämeenlinna Regional Public Transport Authority, said: “With the new system, passengers don’t need cash, a Waltti-card or a mobile app; they don’t need to understand ticket pricing or zones – paying for trips is much simpler. Our customers have given us feedback that they want contactless card payment options, so we’re expecting the system to be welcomed.”
Figures from Nordic payment provider Nets show that, in June 2021, 71 per cent of all card payments in Finland were made using contactless payment methods. This compares to 64 per cent in January 2020. With an already strong adoption of contactless payments in the region, accelerated by the pandemic, the introduction of contactless EMV fare collection in many cities in Finland is timely.
In Hämeenlinna, public transport users have been accustomed to using the Waltti travel card – Finland’s nationwide, closed-loop public transport ticketing system. The move to open-loop payments adds payment choice for residents and commuters, while eliminating the need for loading a ticket or stored-value to a smart card. The system will also attract new riders and tourists – who don’t carry a Waltti card – to access transport without having to understand the local fare structures and ticketing.
Modernising transit payments
Hämeenlinna’s new transit payment system is being introduced as part of a wider project commissioned by Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL) in 2020 to modernise transit payments in major cities throughout Finland. Hämeenlinna is the fourth city to offer contactless EMV fare collection on public transport, following Helsinki, Tampere and Oulu.
This project has been accomplished by Littlepay, which offers transit payment processing. In Hämeenlinna, Littlepay is working in partnership with Nets for acquiring services, and Logos and Pusatec for ticketing technology. The rollout began on 25 October 2021 on two lines; throughout early November 2021, the scheme will be extended to all of the city’s buses.
Bus passengers in Hämeenlinna using the contactless EMV system can take advantage of 90-minute time-based fare caps. This enables passengers to tap-to-pay and get unrestricted bus switches within a 90-minute window from the first tap-on. In addition, daily fare caps have been configured to bring automatic best-value to passengers that are travelling several times within a 24-hour period. It’s expected that a weekly fare cap will be added later.
Passengers who use the contactless payment option will be able to pay with Visa, Visa Electron and Mastercard cards that feature the contactless symbol. They can also use GooglePay and ApplePay mobile wallets. They will be able to track their transactions using a customer portal.