Stagecoach and Everything Everywhere are set to conduct the first government-standard, commercial, mobile contactless ticketing trial on buses in Cambridgeshire.
The trial will use EE’s Quick Tap Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and the two companies will monitor the level of convenience that the service provides as well as the operational and technical efficiencies.
A small cross-section of bus passengers will receive a Quick Tap enabled mobile handset from EE on its Orange brand. The device will also include a specially-designed app to make it compatible with the buses’ smartcard technology.
“As Britain’s biggest communication company, we’re proud to be working with Stagecoach to help bring public transport ticketing into the 21st century and start a trend towards a future where ultimately the traditional paper and card tickets of today will eventually become a thing of the past,” said Gerry McQuade, chief marketing officer of Everything Everywhere.
The trial uses the Department of Transport’s preferred Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation (ITSO) smart ticketing technology and if it proves successful, it could lead to a nationwide rollout across select bus and rail services in 2013.
“Smartphones are playing an increasingly important role in helping people manage their busy lifestyles and are already used across many areas of life,” said Stagecoach Group finance director Martin Griffiths. “We believe this technology can also make public transport easier and more convenient to use. Once this trial is complete, we will carry out a review of the findings and assess the potential to expand the scheme further for our passengers.
“As with contactless mobile payments, the security of customers details in the new Quick Tap transport ticketing service will be of paramount importance and the solution has been developed and rigorously tested to ensure customers’ ticket details and personal data will be protected and secure.”
The government wants most public transport journeys to be undertaken using smart ticketing by 2014 and it is predicted that by 2015, nearly half a billion people will use mobile ticketing technology on public transport through NFC and SMS technologies.
NFC technology is currently used by Transport for London (TfL)’s Oyster card system. It was announced earlier this month that selected athletes would be able to make contactless payments during this summer’s Olympic Games using a limited edition version of the Samsung Galaxy S III.