The Brussels public transport operator STIB reported 3 million journeys in 2021 with passengers using contactless payment – 1 million more trips using the technology than officials expected.
Launched in June 2020, the contactless payment readers allow a passenger to pay for a bus, metro, or tram journey using a bank card embedded with a payment chip or a payment app on a smartphone or smartwatch.
When launched, roughly 8% of sales for a single trip used a contactless payment method, according to Elke Van den Brandt, Minister of Mobility, Sud Presse reports. A year later, nearly a quarter of journeys were purchased with contactless payments. At the end of 2021, 35% of single trip tickets used contactless payments.
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STIB introduced contactless payment to ease access to its transportation network for tourists or occasional passengers, Van den Brandt said. However, Covid-related travel restrictions meant these types of passengers were less likely to use the STIB network. Since contactless payments are anonymous, STIB doesn’t have user profile data for travellers using this option.
STIB is currently developing a digital Brupass and Brupass XL ticket (1 and 10 trips), allowing travellers to pay for journeys using the STIB app. Other transit systems have similar digital tickets.