Metro customers can now get Pay As You Go travel on Android smartphones, thanks to a collaboration between Google Pay and Nexus, the public body which operates the system.
People are now able to load a Pop card into Google Pay on their smartphone, and then use it to touch in and out of the Metro system, in the same way that they use a Pop card.
Nexus said today’s launch of Pop Pay As You Go on Android would transform how people access the Metro network, and enjoy the savings that the Pay As You Go product offers.
In order to use Pop Pay As You Go on Android, customers just need to add the Pop card, with value loaded, from within their Google Pay app.
They then simply touch in and out with the top half of their phone on gatelines and validators at Metro stations. Google Pay automatically deducts the fare from the virtual card and applies the Pop Pay As You Go discount.
Customer Services Director at Nexus, Huw Lewis, said: “Pop Pay As You Go on Android will transform how our customers can pay for their travel using Google Pay, and this will make it even easier for people to access the Tyne and Wear Metro.
“Two-thirds of Metro customers tell us they are keen to move to smart phones as a way to pay for their journeys, and today we are making that possible for Android users.
“All you need to do is top up the app on your smartphone and then touch in and out through gatelines with your phone. The app automatically deducts the fare for you and applies the Pop Pay As Go fare cap. It’s convenient, easy to use, and will speed up journey times.
“The tickets are stored electronically on Android smartphones, so you can travel without needing to carry a separate ticket or smartcard.
“We have worked with one of the world’s biggest companies on one hand and Nebula Labs, a tech start-up from here in North East England, to make this latest phase of this exciting project become a reality.”
Dylan McKee, CEO at Nebula Ltd, said: "We are delighted to have had the opportunity to collaborate with all the partners on this exciting project. Working together, we've developed a smart ticketing app that is user friendly, efficient and helps make travel on the Metro even easier. Being from and based in the region, we are particularly proud that Nebula Labs has had a role in developing something positive for customers and staff, that will become part of everyday life, throughout Tyne and Wear."
Alistair Smith, Chair of Yotra Ltd, said: “We are pleased to see the expansion of Pop tickets being available for purchase within Google Pay on Android, allowing passengers more choice in how they plan, buy and travel across the Metro network.
“We recognise public transport needs to embrace the digital world and have developed Yotra to offer passengers a seamless and, importantly in today’s world, a touchless journey. We look forward to continuing to work with Nexus and its ticketing partners to further enhance the digital ticketing offering to passengers ”.
Ken Cameron, Managing Director of Scheidt & Bachmann UK added, “We are delighted to support Nexus in this exciting enhancement of the retailing experience for Metro customers. We are ready to support its further development as the change in customer-buying behaviour accelerates”.
When people store their Metro ticket on Google Pay, it uses near-field communication (NFC) to open the ticket gate.
The project is a collaboration between Nexus, Google, mobile ticketing provider Yotra Ltd, ticketing and gating supplier Scheidt and Bachmann, and Newcastle-based software company, Nebula Labs, who built the smartphone the app with its easy-to-use format.
The Pop card app is available for download free of charge from the Google Play Store for weekly MetroSaver tickets.
Customers using their smartphone to travel will no longer need to queue for ticket machines or carry paper tickets or plastic smartcards.
However, customers can continue to use contactless payment using a bank card or smart device, as well as cash and credit/debit cards, to purchase a ticket or top up their Pop card at Metro ticket machines.