Transit payment processor Littlepay has announced the launch of contactless EMV payments in the Finnish city of Hämeenlinna.
The rollout, in collaboration with Hämeenlinna Regional Public Transport Authority and TVV lippu- ja maksujärjestelmä Oy, will extend across all nine of its bus companies, in a move designed to make payments simpler for passengers and encourage more use of public transport in the city.
Passengers who use the contactless payment option will be able to pay with Visa, Visa Electron, and Mastercard cards featuring the contactless symbol. They can also use GooglePay and ApplePay mobile wallets, and will be able to track their transactions using a customer portal provided by Littlepay.
Currently around one million passengers a year use Hämeenlinna’s bus routes, approximately a third less than in pre-pandemic times. According to Littlepay, a contactless ticketing system is one way for the local authority to make bus travel easier and incentivise more people to leave their cars at home.
Kim Venesjärvi, public transport coordinator, 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% of all card payments in Finland were made using contactless payment methods. This compares to 64% in January 2020. In Hämeenlinna, public transport users use the Waltti travel card, Finland’s nationwide, closed-loop public transport ticketing system.
According to Littlepay, the move to open-loop payments adds payment choice for residents and commuters and eliminates the need for loading a ticket or stored-value to a smart card. It’s hoped that 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.
Hämeenlinna’s new transit payment system is being introduced as part of a wider project commissioned by Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL) last year to modernise transit payments in major cities throughout Finland. Hämeenlinna is the fourth city to offer contactless EMV fare collection on public transport, following the capital Helsinki, Tampere and Oulu.
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 on two lines; in the first week of November, the scheme was extended to all of the city’s buses.
The contactless EMV system features 90-minute time-based fare caps for bus passengers in Hämeenlinna, enabling 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 in Littlepay’s platform to bring automatic best-value to passengers travelling several times within a 24-hour period. It’s expected that a weekly fare cap will be added later.