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Mastercard has been partnering with city authorities and transit operators to bring the best secure digital payment technologies to their transport systems for years. More recently we’ve observed the rapid rise of mobile ride-hailing apps like Uber, Grab and Lyft competing for ridership in cities. Finally this year we are starting to see these two sectors beginning to come together and to collaborate in delivering integrated multi-stage door-to-door trips in a proposition often called “Mobility-as-a-Service” (“MaaS”).
It’s been fascinating to see Uber making multiple moves this week to advance the MaaS vision. On Monday it acquired JUMP Bikes, bringing electric bikes into the mix alongside regular ride-share options. And then earlier today it announced a global alliance with our long-standing partner Masabi to enable payment for transit rides in the Uber experience too.
What this means is that Uber is evolving into an orchestrator of multiple mobility services rather than just a provider of car rides. The familiar Uber app started out as a brilliant tool for planning, ordering and paying for a car journey, but is now being extended to deliver planning, booking and payment for complex multi-mode trips involving a range of different ticketing systems.
Mastercard and Masabi pioneer connected mobility in 30+ cities
Masabi, in whom Mastercard has a minority stake, serves 30+ transit operators in some of the world’s largest cities including New York (Metro North & LIRR), Boston, Los Angeles, London and Sydney with mobile ticketing solutions. Hence there is the enticing prospect that in the future a rider could travel say from Connecticut to Manhattan by Uber, Metro North and the NY Subway in one single integrated trip enabled by a Mastercard in-app payment covering ride-hail, commuter rail ticket and QR scan for the subway.
Historically the challenge with this concept was the complexity of navigating the transfers between different forms of transport. Every change from car to train or train to bus involved a new timetable, a new route map, a new ticket-seller and a new ticket product choice. All that complexity deterred people. But innovative mobility providers have created apps and algorithms to handle all that: modern trip planning apps like HERE’s WeGo automate the task of assembling multi-stage trip plans and identifying the fastest or simplest one. And increasingly they are integrated with APIs provided by transport providers so that each stage of the trip can be booked and paid for automatically, all within a single extended digital experience.
Using your phone as your ticket to the entire city
At Mastercard we bring our full portfolio of digital payment technologies to the challenge of making booking & paying for multi-stage multi-modal trips happen securely in the background. Mastercard services such as tokenisation and virtual one-time payment cards can be used by mobility orchestrators to distribute payments to all the transport operators involved in delivering a multi-stage trip, without having to involve the passenger in doing so. It all stays in the background, which is where it should be, leaving the consumer to enjoy the ride – using whatever form of transport.
We also understand that addressing the challenges of modern-day urbanization at scale is too big a task for anyone alone. That is why we bring together private, public and civic partners – to deliver on the promise of better, more livable cities. And that is why we are excited that Uber and Masabi just realized a major milestone for connected mobility.