In our second Transit Voices podcast, Masabi co-founder Ben Whitaker talks to Simon Laker, Global Head of Mobility Payments at Consult Hyperion, who are strategic advisory and technical experts in Payments, Identity and Mass Transit Ticketing.
Here’s what you’ll hear in this episode: the two talk about Simon’s ideas on blockchain, cryptocurrency and transit, as well as his work, bringing contactless EMV to TfL and some of the big agencies and the savings that they could achieve there. They then switch topics to Simon's recently published research about the savings transit agencies can achieve by moving to shared fare payments platforms rather than bespoke design-build-operate-maintain systems.
Simon suggests that Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) are further away from adoption than we might think, commenting, “We spend a bit of time sort of looking at future technologies and road mapping where they fit in terms of when one should pay attention to them, and I think there are other payment initiatives coming along that we can get excited about way before we get excited about blockchain and CBDCs in a transit space. I've put CBDCs and digital currencies in a sort of five to 10-year window from now, rather than something that we need to worry about in the short term.”
Ben agrees and points out that the technologies are far from a low-carbon solution explaining that they “consume an obscene quantity of energy, not only in the generation of the initial tokens but in the recording of new transactions, such that all of the carbon saving benefits of using public transport could be immediately offset if there was any blockchain involvement in either stamping and processing the ticket used or in the retail of it using it as currency.”
The pair talk about the implementation of contactless ticketing solutions and how Transport for London (TfL) led the way in making it the normal way for people to pay for transit travel, and they also discuss why the adoption of new payment technologies can only really have a positive effect when legacy payment systems can be removed, such as removing cash boxes from vehicles.
You’ll also find out why Simon’s boondoggle is Mobility-as-a-Service, while he thinks APIs are the industry’s underdog. The whole conversation is 40 minutes you’ll be glad you’ve listened to.