The days of scrounging in your pockets for bus fare are over, if Google and NJ Transit have anything to say about it. NJ Governor Chris Christie announced earlier today that the third largest transit system in the country has partnered with Google to bring their wireless Wallet payment system to bus routes and rail lines in the Northeast.
Customers will be able to tap their Nexus S 4Gs at a handful of venues to fast-track their daily commute. So far, the list of supported locations includes ticket booths and windows at New York’s Penn Station and Newark Liberty International Airport Rail Station. Google Wallet can also be used on the 6, 43, 80, 81, 87, and 120 bus routes, with a few buses on the 126 line also packing support.
It was just yesterday that Google announced a handful of new retail partners for their NFC-based payment technology, but this is Google’s first big step into the transit space. It’s a smart, if somewhat obvious move for Google. In order for Google Wallet to be the revolution in transaction handling the company hopes for, it needs to start reaching beyond retail locations.
Integrating contactless payments into transit systems certainly isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that’s expected to drive NFC adoption in areas where public transport is a way of life. According to Vice President of Commerce Stephanie Tilenius, “transit has been a common element of every major successful NFC effort globally and is a critical component of Google Wallet’s success.”
It definitely doesn’t hurt that must-have new handsets like Google and Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy Nexus will ship with NFC chips onboard. As more and more manufacturers jump on the NFC bandwagon, Google Wallet stands a fighting chance at becoming the payment method of choice for the tech-savvy.
On a more personal note, this comes as very welcome news to a former student of a commuter school. Dealing with lightly-creased dollar bills and finicky machines first thing in the morning often added an unneeded headache while dashing to class. Thankfully for Jersey taxpayers (myself included), the deal isn’t costing them a dime. After all, the price of execution will be well worth it if Google can prove that their payment system can handle thousands of transactions a day without a hitch.