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Chicago trains and buses to begin accepting credit card payments

January 13, 2014

Many public transportation systems have begun to take steps that will allow their riders to pay for their fares using smartphones and other tablet devices.

Many public transportation systems have begun to take steps that will allow their riders to pay for their fares using smartphones and other tablet devices. Now, individuals who ride trains or buses in Chicago can do so as well.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that the local CTA public transportation agency would soon allow riders to pay for train and bus fares using mobile payment processing technology. The mobile credit card terminal, which allows consumers to pay for their rides using a smartphone, is currently being tested in some locations. The CTA already allows its riders to pay using debit cards and credit cards, according to the report. 

“CTA and Cubic are testing the limited number of NFC-enabled devices currently on the market with the goal of having the system used for both buses and trains,” Brian Steele, CTA spokesman, told the Chicago Tribune. “So far we haven’t run into any problems, but we are still testing.”

It’s likely that many public transportation agencies will soon engage in similar practices. Martin Schroeder, chief technology officer at the American Public Transportation Association, told the Tribune that he fully expects smartphone payments to become a normal practice for payment processing in the public transportation sector. The report notes that commuter rail agencies in Massachusetts and Texas, among other states, already accept such payments.

“Smartphone ticketing is going to be the way to go in the future,” Schroeder told the news outlet. “It can replace the ticket vending machine, right there in your hands, without riders having to wait in line, and it also provides flexibility in selecting payment methods.”

Chicago is following on the heels of New York City: Just last week, NBC News reported that the transit agency servicing the latter city was planning to accept payments made via smartphone this year. 

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