Incofer DMU, loco and coach

COSTA RICA: The SINPE-TP national electronic payment system for public transport is being rolled out on trains and buses by central bank BCCR, which estimates that contactless payments for public transport could reduce cash payments nationwide by 25%.

Announcing a contract to provide BCCR with a cloud based platform for processing contactless EMV payments, technology supplier Littlepay said this is the first time that a central bank has managed the deployment of a nationwide open payment system for public transport.

It will be a ‘truly innovative, national, transit payment system’, said Littlepay CEO Amin Shayan, delivering ‘the interoperability and seamless travel experience that so many cities around the world aspire to.’

Littlepay said Costa Rica is a leader in contactless payment, with 98% of cards in circulation in the country having contactless technology and 77% of all card transactions being contactless.

Efficient and secure

SINPE-TP aims to make fare collection more efficient and secure, and encourage public transport use by improving the passenger experience.

Littlepay will support BCCR with integrating a variety of validators into the system, enabling operators to choose different terminals to suite their needs and preferences. It is working with BAC-Credomatic and Banco Nacional as part of the integration process, and others may integrate in the future.

Benefits to operators will include a reduction in cash handling, and thus greater staff safety, faster boarding, and improved hygiene as a result of contactless technology.

Passengers will be able to use a bank card for pay-as-you-go travel. The cost of trips will be calculated based on fare models defined by national transport authorities, with SINPE-TP ensuring the correct collection of fares and distribution of revenue among operators.

The system will launch with flat fares, but is designed to accommodate fare caps and discounts, as well as other future fare models that may be required. It is also designed to process payments with QR codes and mobile wallets.

SINPE-TP is being launched on Incofer train services, and will be gradually introduced to an initial 200 buses this year before nationwide expansion takes it to 5 000 buses and up to 600 million transactions per year.