New features were rolled out onto the Google Maps app on Android yesterday that provide in-app payment options for vehicle parking and public transit.
Currently, these features are only available in the United States, but their introduction in Canada is almost certain to be an eventuality. Google is also looking to add these features to their app on iOS soon.
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The company states the parking payment capability is a result of an integration with parking solutions providers Passport and ParkMobile. Drivers can simply tap on the “Pay for Parking” button that appears at their destination, enter the meter number and the amount of time they want to pay for, and tap “Pay.”
If drivers need more time, they can extend their parking session on the app without having to go back to the meter.
Pay parking on Google Maps is now available in over 400 American cities, including Boston, Cincinnati, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC.
These capabilities come in direct competition with Vancouver-based PayByPhone, which provides phone and app-based parking payment in over 80 US cities, 30 cities in Canada, and dozens of university campuses across both countries. PayByPhone, owned by a division of Volkswagen, also has a limited presence in Australia and New Zealand.
For public transit payment, the Google Maps app is offering fare payment for over 80 public transit agencies around the world — but again, none in Canada, yet.
When public transit riders get their directions on the app, they will see the option to pay with their phone with the credit or debit cards already linked to their Google Pay account. They can then show their digital ticket to board transit or tap their phone on a reader.
Riders can understand how to pay in advance and get their fare ready ahead of time, which is particularly helpful for urban regions with multiple transit systems that each have their own separate fares.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, riders can buy a digital Clipper Card — the transit payment smart card equivalent of TransLink’s Compass Card in Vancouver, Metrolinx’s Presto Card in Toronto, and STM’s Opus Card in Montreal — directly from the Google Maps app. All riders will need to do is tap their phone on the card reader.
On the TransLink system, Compass card readers already accept alternative forms of payment such as contactless American Express, Mastercard, and Visa credit cards, as well as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
For Metrolinx, while the new and improved PRESTO app introduced for both Android and iOS last year does not allow for app payment, it provides riders with the convenience of full instant funds load capabilities onto their PRESTO card, instead of having to do this through the website or at a ticketing machine.
TransLink previously indicated it has no plans to introduce an app for its fare payment, as it would require a new generation of the Compass system. There is also an emerging idea in the transportation industry of mobility as a service, with a one-stop shop mobility app that identifies and optimizes any individual trip across multiple modes, including transit, bike share, carshare, and ride-hailing.