News Santander brings blockchain payments to Madrid's buses

Santander brings blockchain payments to Madrid’s buses

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Soon travelers in Madrid will be able to pay for their public transport using a single unified digital payment system, powered by blockchain.

In partnership with Banco Santander, blockchain certification company Vottun is developing an all-in-one system that will unify all of the city’s public transport under one app, driven by blockchain. The app will enable users to register once in order to use all of the city’s public mobility services, including buses, taxis and electric vehicle charging. As well as offering a single onboarding and payment system, the app also promises to improve data security for users.

Vottun is one of 300 start-ups that applied to Madrid in Motion, a new initiative by the Municipal Transport Company of Madrid (EMT) that aims to streamline the city’s cumbersome public transport system. At present, up to 30 different businesses that offer their services to the EMT, including bus companies, taxis, bicycle hires, motorcycles and car rentals as well as the metro. Each service has its own app, which travelers must register for separately, providing ID and payment information. 

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“The onboarding and validation process of user information with be the same for all the mobility services offered in Madrid through the EMT app,” said Rohan Hall, CEO of Vottun. “This will make it easier for citizens to use public transportation, and to pay in an easier and more transparent way.”

Madrid appears to be the perfect locale for a venture of this kind. According to statistics from Moovitapp, the average commute time within the city is 62 minutes, with over 63 percent of those commuters spending more than two hours a day onboard public transportation. Moreover, in a single trip, 68 percent of Madridians make at least one transfer, with 23 percent transferring twice.

Interestingly, Madrid isn’t the first to digitize its transportation system using blockchain. Earlier this year a partnership between blockchain-based financial services provider Bitex and transit payment card platform Alto Viaje enabled Argentinians to pay for travel on trains, buses and subways throughout the country using Bitcoin.

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