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Kuba Celebrates Open-Loop Payments Success One Month After Launch in Tuscany and Florence

One month after Kuba introduced open-loop payments across Tuscany’s bus network and Florence’s tramway, mobility payment specialist has hailed the move a success following strong passenger adoption.

Sunday 28 March saw the largest open-loop payments deployment on a European transit network; spanning across 273 cities and towns, including 13 major cities.

Now, local transport operator Autolinee Toscane (AT) has revealed that 400,000 passengers have used the system, and fare validators on vehicles have received around 650,000 ‘taps’ with bank cards and mobile wallets. A large proportion of these (60 per cent) are occasional passengers, with less than two taps in this period; and about 50 per cent of cards used on the system were issued abroad – highlighting its popularity among occasional riders and tourists.

Tommaso Rosa, head of marketing, and brand communication at AT, discussed the success: “As these figures show, contactless payment using a card or smartphone is proving popular, in particular with people who don’t ride our buses regularly and those visiting Tuscany from overseas. They don’t have to understand the ticketing system to hop on a bus and travel around cities, or from one city to another. With open payments on 1,000 lines, exploring our region by bus couldn’t be simpler.”

AT partnered with Kuba to implement the open-loop system. It is an extension of the account-based ticketing system deployed by Kuba in 2021 when AT took over the running of Tuscany’s bus network. Previously managed by 23 bus companies, the transition involved replacing eight ticketing systems with a single platform.

Promoting TipTap with Visa

Kuba installed over 6,000 cEMV-enabled validators on over 3,000 urban, suburban, and intercity buses and 40 trams, enabling passengers to use their bank card or mobile wallet as a travel ticket.

Fares are calculated in Kuba’s account-based ticketing back office, with contactless EMV fare payments processed by a specialist payment service provider, Littlepay.

Giuseppe Russotti, general manager of Kuba in Italy, discusses open-loop payments
Giuseppe Russotti, general manager of Kuba in Italy

Giuseppe Russotti, general manager of Kuba in Italy, also discussed the data: “It is a great honour to provide the technical solution for seamless payments on public transport across Tuscany. The scale of the project is like no other we’ve seen in Europe, and its successful delivery is a testament to great teamwork. We’re grateful for the collaboration with Autolinee Toscane and our partner Littlepay, which has led to a simpler way for travellers to make the most of this stunning region.”

To motivate using TipTap, AT also teamed up with Visa to launch an extensive consumer-facing marketing campaign. As well as raising awareness of the ease and convenience of open-loop fare payments, the campaign promoted Visa’s offer of free rides to passengers using the contactless system between 10 April 5 May.

Kuba’s Italian team, based in Rome, has handled the complex delivery of account-based ticketing and open-loop fare payments across Tuscany. Formerly known as Vix Italia, the company today announces it has become part of the Kuba Group. This strategic merger combines decades of experience in the Italian transport ticketing market with Kuba’s commitment to transforming account-based mobility payments.

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