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Google Wallet powers payments for NJ Transit

Transportation service NJ Transit is making buying tickets easier for consumers by becoming the first public commuter organization using Google Wallet.

The mobile payment service is being rolled out at select train and bus stations across New Jersey. The transportation service has used mobile payments in the past, most notably with a Visa partnership.

“We know that our customers are looking for ways to make purchasing tickets easier,” said Penny Bassett-Hackett, spokeswoman for NJ Transit, Newark, NJ.

“In our customer satisfaction surveys, the majority of customers had a cell phone and more than 50 percent had a smartphone,” she said.

NJ Transit is the nation’s third largest public transportation system in the country, linking New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania on 236 bus routes and 11 rail lines.

Smart travel
NJ Transit has signed a two-year deal with Google to implement mobile payments into its services.

Consumers can pay via Google Wallet for NJ Transit rail tickets at Newark Airport and Penn Station.

Google Wallet is also available on NJ Transit bus lines.

Currently, Google Wallet is only available on the Nexus S 4G smartphone as an app.

Google Wallet is pushed to Nexus 4G owners with a phone update.

Users can add money to the app via a Citi MasterCard credit card or a Google Prepaid Card, which can be used with any credit card.

To pay for tickets, consumers open the app and press it against a commerce-enabled touchpad at terminals.

“Mobile payments are just another option for our consumers to purchase their tickets,” said Ms. Bassett-Hackett.

“Our goal is to improve the customer experience and make buying tickets easy,” she said.

Track record
NJ Transit is the latest company – and first public transportation company – to use Google Wallet.

Most recently, Google signed on a list of retailers and brands who will use Google Wallet to give consumers mobile rewards and coupons (see story).

Google Wallet’s goal is to get consumers more comfortable using mobile payments, which means starting small with everyday items, such as train tickets.

Therefore, NJ Transit makes an ideal company to test out how consumers respond to mobile payments.

NJ Transit also partnered with Visa’s payWave program in 2010 (see story).

“Google is a leading company with this type of technology,” Ms. Bassett-Hackett said.

“While we know it is only on one type of phone right now, we have heard from Goggle that it will be expanding, which means more consumers can take advantage of the feature,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York