10 years of OPUS: Solid performance and a promising future
The STM, as the delegated OPUS system manager for the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM), joins with all of the other public transit partners (exo, MRCJT, RTC, RTL, STL and STLévis) to celebrate the first 10 years of successful use of the OPUS card and announce the future orientations for the ticketing system, for transit fare sales and collection.
Montréal, October 15, 2018 — The OPUS reloadable chip card used by a number of transit authorities is celebrating its 10th birthday. The Société de transport de Montréal (STM), as the delegated OPUS system manager for the Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM), joins with all of the other public transit partners (exo, MRCJT, RTC, RTL, STL and STLévis) to celebrate the first 10 years of successful use of the OPUS card and announce the future orientations for the ticketing system, for transit fare sales and collection.
Building on the solid foundations of the current OPUS system, certain partners are focusing actively on the use of a customer account for the various modes of transportation and implementation of direct bank card payment on fare validation equipment using an open payment system. These efforts will benefit the entire OPUS community.
A solid system
- Over 10 million OPUS cards issued over the past 10 years
- More than 5.5 billion validations
- More than 1 million OPUS cards used each month
- 1.9 million validations each weekday with the OPUS system
Following 10 years of use, the OPUS system has proven itself. It stands out in terms of durability and reliability and is appreciated by transit users. The OPUS community partners were pioneers when they adopted the system in 2008, and transit authorities like the Toronto Transit Commission continue to deploy similar solutions.
“Our vision is to build on the current system to begin a major shift in ticketing, allowing us to offer customers a renewed experience and facilitate access to public transit — and eventually to all modes of integrated mobility — by reducing point-of-entry barriers. To this end, as of this fall, we will be testing with our employees a new model based on customer accounts, in addition to initiating a project aimed at developing open bank card payment,” says Philippe Schnobb, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the STM, speaking on behalf of the members on the OPUS community.
Ticketing module implementation project
Starting this week, certain OPUS partners are recruiting several hundred employees for the first phase in the project, which will test a ticketing module that simulates a customer account model, a feature that could be added to the current OPUS system. Customers could be billed based on use. Payments would be made electronically, debited to the account linked to the transit user’s banking data. This new feature would be the cornerstone of mobility as a service (MaaS) and could ultimately enable the integration of other sustainable transportation modes. The first review of the test will be carried out during the second quarter of 2019. The goals are to test the reliability of this type of system and draw lessons, with a view to larger-scale implementation in addition to the current OPUS solution.
Open bank card payment
Banking has evolved over the past few years. There is a focus on standardizing and simplifying bank card use in transit systems to enable use of the cards directly on fare validation equipment. Solutions are now available for mobile devices. Since June 2018, the ability to process bank cards (both physically or in smart phones) has been integrated into all acquisitions of new fare validation equipment. By the time a new payment solution is implemented, all fare validation equipment will have been changed. A call for tenders for an open bank card payment solution is currently being elaborated, with a view to choosing a supplier and deploying the solution around 2022.
Compared with cash payment, the new approach offers advantages such as greater travel spontaneity, reduced point-of-entry barriers thanks to the elimination of the need to choose and purchase fares, and improved boarding flow. At the STL, a contactless credit card payment pilot project has been under way since April 2017. The findings so far have contributed to orientations for updating payment approaches in the metropolitan area.
A decade after the launch of OPUS, the system has delivered its promises and allowed the partners to lay the foundations of a major shift in ticketing that will be a win-win solution for transit authorities and users — like OPUS when it was deployed 10 years ago.
Société de transport de Montréal
514 350-0800 #87346
Conseiller, Affaires publiques et relations médias
514 409-2786, poste 7408
514 287-2464, poste 4057
Société de transport de Laval
450 662-5400, poste 2236
Conseillère – Communications et affaires publiques
450 442-8600, poste 8145
Chef des communications
Réseau de transport de la Capitale
418 627-2351, poste 4946
Société de transport de Lévis