Commuter rail operator in Lisbon launches contactless EMV payments
The digitalization of payments in public transit is underway in Lisbon, Portugal. Passengers on Fertagus, a commuter rail line connecting the city centre with the suburb of Setúbal, no longer have to purchase tickets in advance. Instead, they simply pick their destination, tap their bank card or smart device on an electronic validator, and away they go.
Fertagus began installing the new validators in September of 2022 with the aim of having at least one device in every station by November. The electronic validators accept cEMV payments as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay. In the future, they will also accept closed-loop Navegante cards, but for now the old validators for the traditional pass will remain in place.
The payment gateway powering the digital upgrade is developed by Switchio, whose account manager for Latin America, Eduardo Vejarano, oversaw implementation. “It’s exciting to see the people of Portugal moving in the right direction when it comes to digital payments in public transportation. It really is the only way to go, and I trust the passengers of Fertagus are already boasting to users of other transit systems in Lisbon about how easy it is,” he says.
The future of payments in public transport: contactless = stressless
The new cEMV payment system represents an extraordinary increase in the level of convenience passengers enjoy on their daily journey. Because they no longer have to find a vending machine to purchase tickets or top up their travel pass, morning commuters and holiday shoppers are less rushed and can focus on more important matters.
The electronic validator displays 14 simple buttons, one for each station on the Fertagus line, and the passenger’s choice of destination determines how much they pay. The fares are the same as on the old vending machines, minus the €0.50 cost of the Navegante card. For example, an end-to-end trip from the heart of Lisbon across the Tagus river to Setúbal costs €4.60. Passengers travelling only one stop, to Pragal, pay €2.05, and those going to the halfway point, Coina, pay €3.40.
Each contactless payment is valid for a single one-way trip only with a specific origin and destination, and passengers have two hours to complete their journey.
With digital payments in public transportation, the bank card is the ticket
Not only is the bank card used to pay the fare, it also serves as the passenger’s ticket. In the event of an inspection, the passenger must present their bank card or smartphone. Inspectors are equipped with their own mobile devices running a special app that allows them to verify ticket validation within a matter of seconds.