Costa Rica launches electronic payment pilot project in public bus service

QCOSTARICA – Starting this Friday, April 29, users of the Sabana-Estadio and Sabana-Cementerio bus lines can pay by electronic payment instead of cash only, a pilot program that will be extended to more than 200 buses by third quarter of the year.

For the implementation of electronic payment in buses, reading devices will be installed in a visible place and easily accessible for the user: the driver must ensure that the electronic payment has been made.

Electronic payment can take the form of debit and credit cards, wristbands, mobile phone apps or smartwatches. Users will be able to pay for their bus ticket quickly and easily, avoiding the risks associated with the use of cash and in better safety and hygiene conditions.

The implementation of electronic payment in public transport, says SINPE-TP, will be done at no additional cost.

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The SINPE-TP operation on two buses on the Sabana-Estadio line and two on the Sabana-Cementerio line will be gradually implemented on the rest of the buses on these lines, as well as on four other lines in Heredia, Cartago, Grecia and Moravia-Paracito.

By the third quarter of this year, according to the roadmap of the pilot plan, electronic payment will be operational in 200 buses. After this stage, the SINPE-TP will be gradually integrated with the rest of the country’s bus companies.

The SINPE-TP, which has been running on INCOFER commuter trains since last year, was developed with state-of-the-art technology to improve the experience of public transport users.

The start of this bus payment method is part of a collaborative solution between the public and private sectors, who have worked hand in hand to deliver on the promise to modernize the bus and train ticket payment system.

Costa Rica has one of the highest banking penetration rates in Latin America. With the entry into operation of the SINPE-TP in buses, the country is moving even further on the path to strengthening financial inclusion through the digitalization of the payment system.

“Today we celebrate the start of a gradual process of introducing electronic payments into the public bus service. This is a strategic project to deepen the use of electronic means of payment in our country and reduce the costs and inefficiencies associated with the use of cash. We urge the new authorities to continue this process of implementing electronic payment in bus mode,” said Rodrigo Cubero, President of Banco Central de Costa Rica (Central Bank of Costa Rica).

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Bus payments represent around 25% of the total annual payment transactions made and nearly 50% of transactions made in cash.

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