Fortaleza, Brazil’s fifth-largest city, has announced that it will accept bitcoin payments for public transport.
The local newspaper Opovo was the first to reveal this, stating that the company that manages the city’s public transport service, the State Passenger Cooperative Cootraps, will provide the city’s residents with the option of purchasing bus tickets using bitcoin payments, in addition to credit and debit cards and current payment systems.
The goal would be to attract more users and reduce bureaucracy.
Cootraps’ financial director, Carlos Robério Sampaio, said:
“This is a way of reducing bureaucracy, even bringing more users into transport. We expect a larger flow of people, we will make it easier for users”.
In fact, bitcoin payments can be easily carried out thanks to an app and the standard QR code; the service will be activated by the end of the year.
This will allow Fortaleza residents to pay for their tickets themselves, without having to interact with the driver. Once the payment has been made, they will receive confirmation of the purchase of the ticket on their smartphone, which will allow them to pass through the turnstiles.
The QR code will be generated at the time of payment and will be recognised by a special device installed in the vehicle.
Another objective would be to minimise cash payments: according to Cootraps itself, the number of passengers paying with coins or physical banknotes is still 40%, which increases complexity and delays.
According to Cootraps project manager Pedro Henrique Alcino, the use of electronic payments would be a way to reduce costs by making passengers carry out as many operations as possible. Unfortunately, using cash to pay for the ticket is something inherent in the culture of Fortaleza citizens, so it will not be easy to convince them to stop doing so.