TipTap advertising on a bus wrap in Tuscany.


Tuscany embraces open-loop fare payments 

Date: May 7th 2024 | Author: Catherine Goddard

  • TipTap, Tuscany’s open payment system, is the largest deployment of its kind in Europe. It offers a simple transit payment experience across hundreds of cities.
  • A month after launch, the latest data shows strong passenger adoption.
  • Kuba, the supplier of Tuscany’s account-based ticketing system, will showcase the technology behind TipTap at the Next Mobility Exhibition in Milan from May 8 to 10.
  • Coinciding with NME, Kuba Italia (formerly Vix Italia) announces it has become part of the Kuba Group, strengthening its position in the account-based mobility market.

Press release, May 7, 2024, Rome: 

On March 28, open-loop payments were activated across Tuscany’s bus network and Florence’s tramway. Managed by mobility payment specialist Kuba, this was the largest open-loop deployment to date on a European transit network. The roll-out extends across 273 cities and towns, including 13 major cities. One month later, data shows strong passenger adoption, especially among occasional riders and tourists.

Clear passenger approval

Transport operator Autolinee Toscane (AT) says that 400,000 passengers have used the system, and about 650,000 ‘taps’ with bank cards and mobile wallets have been received by fare validators on vehicles. A large proportion of these, 60%, are occasional passengers, with less than 2 taps in this period; and about 50% of cards used on the system were issued abroad.

Tommaso Rosa, Head of Marketing, Brand & Communication at AT, says:

“As these figures show, contactless payment using a card or smartphone is proving popular, in particular with people who don’t ride our buses regularly and those visiting Tuscany from overseas. They don’t have to understand the ticketing system to hop on a bus and travel around cities, or from one city to another. With open payments on 1,000 lines, exploring our region by bus couldn’t be simpler.”

Proof of scalability

AT partnered with Kuba to implement the open-loop system. It is an extension of the account-based ticketing system deployed by Kuba in 2021 when AT took over the running of Tuscany’s bus network. Previously managed by 23 bus companies, the transition involved replacing eight ticketing systems with a single platform.

To enable passengers to use their bank card or mobile wallet as their travel ticket, more than 6,000 cEMV-enabled Kuba validators have been installed on over 3,000 urban, suburban, and intercity buses and 40 trams. Passengers tap their bank card or smart device on a validator as they board. On some lines, they tap a validator again as they exit. Fares are calculated in Kuba’s account-based ticketing back office, with contactless EMV fare payments processed by a specialist payment service provider, Littlepay

Giuseppe Russotti, General Manager of Kuba in Italy, says:

“It is a great honor to provide the technical solution for seamless payments on public transport across Tuscany. The scale of the project is like no other we’ve seen in Europe, and its successful delivery is a testament to great teamwork. We’re grateful for the collaboration with Autolinee Toscane and our partner Littlepay, which has led to a simpler way for travellers to make the most of this stunning region.” 

Marketing investment drives adoption

To motivate using TipTap, Autolinee Toscane teamed up with Visa to launch an extensive consumer-facing marketing campaign. As well as raising awareness of the ease and convenience of open-loop fare payments, the campaign promoted Visa’s offer of free rides to passengers using the contactless system between April 10th and May 5th. 

Kuba validator on board an Autolinee Toscane bus in Tuscany, Italy

Kuba validator on an Autolinee Toscane bus

Entering a new era

Kuba’s Italian team, based in Rome, has handled the complex delivery of account-based ticketing and open-loop fare payments across Tuscany. Formerly known as Vix Italia, the company today announces it has become part of the Kuba Group. This strategic merger combines decades of experience in the Italian transport ticketing market with Kuba’s commitment to transforming account-based mobility payments. 

Kuba is exhibiting at Next Mobility Exhibition in Milan, May 8-10. Find the team at stand A12.

Press contact: Catherine Goddard catherine.goddard@kubapay.com