Google has announced that it will soon add ORCA cards to its digital wallet service – Google Wallet, allowing transit riders to make contactless ticket payments via the app on their Android, iOS, and WatchOS devices.
Transit users can now get real-time card balances, transaction history, and the ability to reload their transit balances, all via the Wallet.
Dedicated Transit Section on Google Wallet For Riders To Top-up, Pay, or View Balances
Open-loop payment systems like ORCA, which was launched just a year ago, are being widely used by commuters in major cities like New York, London, and Sydney. The platform allows users to make transit payments using any physical or digital card from their wallets. Though the approach is highly convenient for passengers traveling for work, there is no way for them to know exactly how much they’ve spent on transit on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
In an announcement made on Thursday, Google said it will be adding ORCA card support to the Google Wallet on Android and Wear OS – the company’s operating system for smartwatches. A digital version of the users’ ORCA card will show up on the Wallet app, which can be reimbursed with funds and travel passes – all through the app.
There will also be a dedicated ORCA page on Google Wallet where they can check the validity of their monthly pass, e-purse balance, and recently logged trips. The “Recent Activity” section will group together the rider’s transit history and they can also view how much money was saved from “time-based fare caps” in total and on a per-ride basis, and on which connected payment network.
Additionally, Google Wallet will keep users updated on special announcements made by transit agencies like potential service alterations or promotional fares.
As per its blog post, Google is set to launch the feature in the UK first, starting with the Brighton and Hove Buses before expanding it to more cities around the world next year. The tech giant has also teamed up with a number of global transit companies to make it easier and more convenient for customers to buy or maintain transit passes in their Google Wallets.
Passengers Can Add Digital Transit Tickets To Google Wallet
Transit passengers in Madrid can now buy and store passes directly on their Android phones. Meanwhile, travelers in Seattle and the Puget Sound Region will “soon” be able to integrate their ORCA transit cards into Google Wallet on their phones and Wear OS watches. Google has also added support for Clipper cards (BART) in San Francisco and SmarTrip in Washington DC.
It’s not just transit passes that Google is looking at. In some cities, riders are required to present their tickets to drivers or fare inspectors. Hence, Google is adding yet another feature that will allow users to store digital tickets directly on the Wallet. The company is working with transit agencies like SNCF in France, Hamburg HVV in Germany, and Italo in Italy to implement the feature on a trial basis.
Travelers Can Plan Multi-Legged Journeys and Book Tickets From Google Maps
Google’s versatility does not end there. The company is adding a ticketing feature to Maps, where users will now be able to plan multi-legged journeys and purchase all necessary transit tickets in one go. Maps will notify users of applicable fares and give them the option to pay via their Wallet. Google has partnered with over 250 travel ticketing agencies globally to make it happen.
The latest set of features are clear indicators of Google’s mission to completely replace the traditional billfold with digital wallets. Recently, the tech giant expanded digital ID support for the Wallet to include more US states – namely, Arizona, Colorado, and Georgia.