Earlier this year, Google rolled Android Pay and Google Wallet into one service called Google Pay. Now, Google is adding transit tickets to its newly unified mobile payments app. Starting today, riders will be able to board the Las Vegas Monorail using Google Pay on Android phones. Google says more cities and transportation services are on the way.
Riders will have to purchase tickets or daily passes on the Las Vegas Monorail’s website on their computer or phone and save them to Google Pay from there. After that, they can just hold their phone near the contactless reader at the monorail turnstiles to enter. Google Pay will also show things like ride history or the nearest monorail stations.
The Las Vegas Monorail, which bills itself as “one of the most advanced urban transportation systems in the world,” only consists of seven stops. The total ride time is around 15 minutes end to end. It’s also privately owned and operated. If Google was looking for an easy way to wade into handling contactless payments for a transportation service, there’s not really a better place to start in the US.
Other attempts to bring mobile payments to larger-scale transportation services around the country have been a challenge. New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been testing a new tap-to-pay system for the subway since last year, but a complete rollout will take years. Other places, like the UK and Japan, have made contactless payments available on public transportation systems for years.
Google hasn’t specified where it will expand to next, or what other kinds of transportation services it will work with. The Las Vegas Monorail’s contactless payment infrastructure is from Dutch technology company NXP, which offers similar technology for car rentals, bike sharing, ferry ticketing, and a number of public transportation services around the globe.