Interac Debit Tap Payments Launch on All STL Buses

STL tap payment

The Société de Transport de Laval (STL) and the Autorité Régionale du Transport Métropolitain (ARTM) in Quebec have announced that Interac Debit contactless payment is now accessible across all STL buses. The move marks the final stage of an ambitious research and development project initiated in 2017 to allow onboard credit and debit card payments on Canadian transport systems.

Riders can now pay for their bus fare by simply tapping their physical bank card, or using their mobile wallet such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, on payment terminals. The system automatically issues a single-trip fare, comparable to cash or credit card payments, and includes an automatic transfer function. Transfers can be made by tapping the same card or device on another STL bus within 120 minutes of the initial tap.

This innovation comes as part of the project’s second phase, which began in 2020 with ARTM funding. All STL buses are now equipped with new-generation payment terminals that accept credit and debit card payments, are compatible with digital wallets, and offer the automatic bus transfer feature.

Additionally, a new working group composed of the ARTM and service providers Flowbird, Moneris, and Interac was set up to support the STL during the project’s final stages. This group successfully implemented credit card payments on all STL buses by March 2022 and has now introduced Interac Debit as a contactless payment option.

“As our goal is to constantly improve our customer experience and further democratize access to our services, we believe this new payment option will be a good response to one of the deterrents of using public transit, i.e., buying a fare. Now more than ever, considering the current climate change, we must make every effort to encourage Laval residents to add public transit into their commuting mix,” said Jocelyne Frédéric-Gauthier, Chair of the STL Board of Directors, in a statement to iPhone in Canada.

In other news, users of paratransit services can now make credit or debit card payments for their trips, thanks to a partnership with COOP Taxi Laval and Chartrand Inc., which launched last week.

Since the 2017 launch of the credit card payment option, its usage has continually risen, resulting in a decline in cash payments. Some 337,000 trips were paid for by credit card in 2022, twice the number in 2019, with over 200,000 trips already paid by card in 2023. As a result, bank card payments now account for 25.7% of all single fare purchases, a significant increase from just 9% in 2019.

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