Skip to content

5 Important Survey Takeaways For Mass Transit Agencies

5 Important Survey Takeaways For Mass Transit Agencies

Can you guess the top three cities where mass transit riders are likely to pay electronically? According to the 2016 ACI Worldwide Mass Transit Payments Survey, the answer is New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Our recent survey of mass transit riders in the United States surprisingly shows that cash - not electronic payment types - is still the most used and most preferred method of payment for mass transit.

Here are five important survey findings that every mass transit agency should consider:

  1. Cash is still the most popular method of payment for mass transit (51%) followed by credit/debit card (30%) and mobile app payments (12%).
  2. Cash is viewed as the most secure method of payment for mass transit – with credit/debit card payment and mobile app payment rounding out the top three. 
  3. More than three quarters (78%) of mass transit riders currently trust that the payments process in their city is secure and nearly the same (76%) trust their mass transit authority is protecting their payments information. However if their payment information was compromised, nine out of ten riders would revert to cash.
  4. Most riders (57%) don’t pay for their fare with a monthly or annual transit pass, and only about half (51%) preload a transit card or pass.
  5. Of the cities surveyed, the city with the highest rider trust in payments security is New York (85%) and the cities with the least trust in payments security are San Francisco (70%), Miami (70%) and Washington, DC (69%).

Given that it costs mass transit agencies nearly twice as much to handle cash payments than it does to handle non-cash payments, cash’s popularity should be concerning to them. With mass transit agencies nationwide struggling to keep fares downs and increase profitability, the agencies should continue to drive adoption on electronic payments.

Additionally, as younger riders – who are more connected and technologically savvy – continue to make up a bigger portion of mass transit passengers, it is important consider their expectations for increased immediacy and seamless digital payment options. While most mass transit agencies currently offer or are building apps that make the overall travel experience easier, they should consider including payment options in these apps to drive down the associated overhead. Not only will this provide potential long term cost savings, but also serve long term customer satisfaction.

Want to learn more about the results of this survey? Have a look at this infographic summary and be sure to read the full results and analysis report here.