Columbus to launch first-ever, publicly-managed single payment platform across transportation modes


Friday, August 16, 2019 10:07 am EDT


  • Siemens Mobility and Bytemark to provide new technology that will integrate into expanding Smart Columbus Operating System (OS)
  • Public sector will manage relationship with rider for trip planning and ticket purchasing across public and private transportation
  • Frictionless and easy experience for the consumer
  • Integral and missing component to address the real-world travel needs of the modern commuter/transportation needs


Today, Siemens Mobility announced it will work with Bytemark, a Siemens Mobility partially-owned subsidiary, to provide a common payment solution for Columbus’ Smart Columbus trip planning app – the first-ever publicly operated platform single-account, single-payment system that allows for both public and private mobility services to be paid using a single account-based payment system.

This payment system will now fulfill the back-end payment portion of the trip-planning capabilities currently provided on the open-source “Smart Columbus” OS platform. With this centralized payment capability, Smart Columbus is pushing the boundaries of current “smart city” applications by seamlessly including multiple public and private modes of transportation as choices when choosing multi-leg trips; making it easier to go door to door with public transportation.

The payment for the entire journey (such as public transit and cab fares) is occurring just once, with the respective fares automatically routed to the right services.  The payment platform will integrate all mobility provider payments – spanning both public and private mobility options, as well as multiple modes including bike-share, scooter-share, and ride share.

“The beauty of such a system is that you can plan – and pay for – your trips more holistically now,” explained Michael Stevens, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Columbus. “Instead of checking to see which mode is faster, you can actually map out the fastest multi-mode route – utilizing any/all modes of public and private transportation, including bicycles, scooters, buses, and ride-hailing. And then pay for it all just once at the end.”  He added, “this solution truly brings first mile-last mile solutions into the hands of the consumer.”

“What is really exciting is how this account based MaaS application will empower citizens of Columbus with more opportunities for seamless door to door travel options based on one common payment platform,” explained Marcus Welz, president of Siemens Mobility’s Intelligent Traffic Systems in North America and CEO of Bytemark.  “We have also been working with exciting new technology partners, such as PayNearMe, which provides walk-in retail options for cash payments -- finally making it possible for people to upload cash into their account.  This opens up access for a whole new group of travelers - previously limited by banking options– to experience today’s newer travel options and capabilities.”

“Mobility integration is the key to providing greater access to a higher quality of life,” said Joanna M. Pinkerton, President/CEO at Central Ohio Transit Authority. “Bringing multiple modes of transportation together and providing a way to pay for an entire trip on one platform, is paramount to bringing innovation and efficiency in the way we provide more access to jobs, education and health care in our communities.”

One scenario where commuters could benefit is traffic congestion along their typical commute home.  Now with this new all-in-one app, they can identify whether bus, train or Lyft would be faster; and then see how those or other options (bicycle or scooter) can take them home for that final mile.  Once they choose the optimal route, they can pay for the entire trip at one time.

Smart Columbus is a joint initiative of the City and Columbus Partnership, which is utilizing government grants and private investment for mobility projects to improve the region’s transportation system. The goal is to act as a “living lab” and document a working plan and playbook for other metro areas to follow.

Siemens Mobility's vision is to provide easy and seamless access to various forms of public and private transport from a single source: bus, train, car sharing and much more - according to the needs of the passengers and the city's transport landscape. Together, Siemens Mobility and the Siemens companies of HaCon, eos.uptrade and Bytemark provide a unique and holistic ecosystem of digital services and solutions. From trip planning across passenger communication to mobile ticketing, payment and comprehensive Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions, from fleet management, to train planning systems and mobility data analytics, we share one common goal: enhancing the passenger experience – with our combined power for mobility.

Bytemark offers a comprehensive suite of Transit Fare Collection solutions that digitize transit passes, tickets and fare media in a variety of innovative ways. Purchase of these fare products by transit riders is simple and instantaneous by means of web-based and smartphone-based purchasing experiences. Agencies are provided with powerful fare validation solutions, and cloud-based access to a complete back office portal to manage and report on their operation.  Bytemark products have been implemented for more than 20 transit agencies including New York City Waterway, Toronto Transit Commission, Capital Metro (Austin, TX), and King County Metro (Seattle, WA).


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Siemens Mobility is a separately managed company of Siemens AG. As a leader in transport solutions for more than 160 years, Siemens Mobility is constantly innovating its portfolio in its core areas of rolling stock, rail automation and electrification, turnkey systems, intelligent traffic systems as well as related services. With digitalization, Siemens Mobility is enabling mobility operators worldwide to make infrastructure intelligent, increase value sustainably over the entire lifecycle, enhance passenger experience and guarantee availability. In fiscal year 2018, which ended on September 30, 2018, the former Siemens Mobility Division posted revenue of €8.8billion and had around 28,400 employees worldwide. Further information is available at: