Use Your Smartphone to Pay for Train Rides

Smartphones could soon be used instead of rail tickets if an experiment by Chiltern Railways is successful.

The rail network wants to pilot a ticketing system that scans people’s phones to detect when they get on and off a train.

Each journey’s fare is calculated and deducted from the user’s bank account.

The tests are scheduled for 2017 and the technology could be available nationwide by 2018.

Using a smartphone’s Bluetooth signal, the app allows passengers to open ticket barriers automatically, as well as get on and off trains, all without needing to hold a ticket.

Bluetooth sensors at the gates will detect when passengers enter and leave stations, and from this, calculate the journey each passenger has taken. The app will be connected to each user’s bank account and charge for train fares in a manner similar to Uber does with taxis.

Back in ASEAN, a smartphone payment system have been implemented in Singapore since March 2016. Commuters can use compatible mobile phones with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to pay their bus and train rides.

Similar to using an ez-link travel card, commuters can simply tap their handsets at MRT and LRT fare gantries, as well as on card readers on buses.

Commuters will have to purchase a new NFC SIM card from their telcos, which is CePAS (Contactless e-Purse Application)-compliant, and turn on their device’s NFC function to make payments or top-ups.

The implementation of NFC payments for buses and trains follows a joint trial between LTA, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), and EZ-Link, which ended in February this year.

The pilot started in August 2014 with train services and was extended to buses in September 2015, involving the testing of 15 NFC-enabled mobile phone models with the new NFC SIM, recording more than 30,000 transactions by 1,000 users.

Besides paying for public transport rides, consumers with the compatible NFC phones and NFC SIM cards can also make payments at more than 30,000 ez-link acceptance points islandwide, including retail, food and beverage outlets, and on taxis. – BBC & StraitsTimesSG

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