Meet the Monkey Awards Nominees – Transportation

We’re almost at the end of our categories now. Just a couple more to go, and the 29th will be upon us and we’ll be finding out who the lucky winners will be. Until then – it’s category 8 – Transportation. Buses, public transport, mobile ticketing – we have it all here. We’re bouncing around the UK and even taking a quick stop into the Czech Republic – regular Magical Mystery Tour, this. All aboard! – next stop; Transportation!

  • Bus and train ticketing – Translink (Northern Ireland)
  • Open contactless EMV payment on buses – Royal Bank of Scotland (UK)
  • NFC ticketing in Pilsen – O2 (Czech Republic)
  • Mobile ticketing on Arriva buses – mBlox (UK)

Well this really is like waiting for a bus. You wait all day and then four turn up in a row! Let’s have a look at the first –  Translink (Northern Ireland). Translink (the transport operator in Northern Ireland) has operated a smart card scheme since 2002, and recently introduced iLink, a contactless card offering multimodal transport. iLink smartcards are used for integrated bus and rail travel across Northern Ireland and are available for day, weekly or monthly travel within 3 bounded Zones on both and bus rail services with Adult and Child versions available. The system is Mifare Classic 1k contactless smartcards with Parkeon Wayfarer proprietary format cards.

iLink is Northern Ireland’s first commercial integrated bus and rail smartcard representing a major step forward in delivering integrated travel for customers throughout the entire country.   The iLink product delivers on its key goals of ease of customer use, seamless intermodal travel and improvement of boarding times. It is important to note that iLink compliments not replaces Translink’s existing suite of smartcard products and now gives customers even greater choice on which smart ticket best suits their travelling patterns.

iLink is ideal for customers who either:-

  • use both bus and train services
  • OR make cross-zonal journeys regularly
  • OR want the flexibility of using either the bus or train to reach their destination

No staff intervention or cash handling is required at any stage of the validation process resulting in improved boarding times for all customers. Translink have implemented iLink software on their smartcard readers on:

  • 1,700 on-bus ticket machines
  • 300 portable hand-held ticket machines
  • 200 static ticket office-based machines
  • 30 station platform validators at key rail stations

As well as selling to individual customers, Translink have now taken the opportunity to mass-sell iLink to other markets e.g.:-  statutory bodies who previously paid their employees’ and clients’ travel expenses on an individual basis can now save on all associated administrative time by issuing a pre-loaded iLink card to these customers. Property developers are offering potential home-owners pre-loaded iLink cards for one year’s travel if the customer purchases a property from them. Additionally Translink have just introduced another contactless product called “TaxSmart” which, under HMRC rules & Tax Legislation, allows employees of participating employers to get Income Tax and National Insurance savings on their annual bus travel when they obtain and use a TaxSmart card. Furthermore, Translink are working on a project to extend the network of retail agents, where customers can reload their iLink Smartlink smartcards, across the whole of Northern Ireland.

Let jump off one bus and hop on another – albeit with a more Scouse flavour. Liverpool, here we come! This is a project for Open contactless EMV payment on buses – Royal Bank of Scotland (UK).

In Autumn 2009, a one year trial was launched in Liverpool to include the bus company Stagecoach and selected merchants, to encourage payment using contactless credit/debit cards. Royal bank of Scotland have actively encouraged other Contactless Issuers / Acquirers to broaden their geographical scope beyond the London Contactless Launch zone to also include Liverpool, in order to compliment this Stagecoach activity (this has included RBS’s recent announcement about their imminent roll-out with the High Street Chain – Boots). Contactless payment technology has the capability to broaden face to face Card acceptance beyond the traditional retail heartland by opening up sectors which have traditionally been closed to Chip and PIN.  RBS WorldPay maintains this is especially applicable to sectors with limited existing Card acquiring footprints – and in particular the Transit sector where the volume of transactions are huge and the majority of payments today are cash.

RBS WorldPay sees the flexibility of an ‘open loop’ Contactless EMV payment solution for Transit applications (as opposed to a closed loop – e.g. Oyster) as a key lever in the ongoing adoption and acceptance of Contactless payments by the Cardholder.  This increased visibility and use would also materially encourage more merchants to embrace Contactless acceptance.

A Contactless ‘Halo’ effect has been observed in other territories e.g. New York, following a domestic transit operator adopting Contactless Payments (albeit not EMV Contactless technology), this effect has been witnessed by Mike Cowen, VP, Product Management, MasterCard Global Transit Group – “We find that when you enable a customer’s PayPass card for transit they tap more often, in a wider range of merchant categories and they show an increased tendency to tap for lower value transactions”.  RBS WorldPay believe this Transit sector extension will lead to a ‘tipping point’ for wider acceptance / adoption by both Cardholder and Merchant and forms a central strand in the ongoing Contactless launch plans.

RBS WorldPay strategy has been to both actively focus on securing a national Transit operator to partner with for a Contactless Trial, and in addition to devise a specific Contactless application which meets the needs of Transit operators.  Clearly this Transit activity needed to take place outside the London Launch area to avoid any confusion with Oyster. This resulted in RBS WorldPay developing and launching a world first, an open Contactless EMV application specifically tailored for Transit applications which was launched in September 2009 with Stagecoach buses in Liverpool. RBS WorldPay has successfully worked with Stagecoach to launch Contactless acceptance on their entire bus fleet which operates out of the Merseyside Gilmoss Bus Depot (circa 180 single and double decker vehicles).

RBS belive that they have made a major achievement with their design and implementation of an EMV Contactless payment solution specifically targeted to meeting the needs of a Transit application

  • Environment – able to withstand the rigours of being located on a bus; fluctuating power supply, vehicle vibration, GPRS antenna position, Card reader location (un-impeding driver sight lines, easily accessible for passenger use, readily integrated with existing ticket machine) etc
  • Speed – Contactless only (no fall back to Chip and PIN), avoiding passenger (Cardholder) confusion or potential timetable delays
  • Acceptance – all UK Contactless EMV Cards regardless of scheme or Issuer (both MasterCard and Visa)
  • Offline transactions (with automated overnight de-tanking) which improve speed of passenger boarding
  • Integration – ability to seamlessly integrate with the merchant’s existing ticketing infrastructure and back office reporting
  • Training – all back office staff and drivers involved with this roll-out have been trained in the process of acceptance and reconciliation.

RBS report that Stagecoach is now able to offer its passengers a broader range of ways to pay, increasing flexibility and hopefully usage, as passengers no longer have to rely on having enough cash to travel.  Additionally as passengers migrate to card payments there will be a related reduction in cash holding reducing driver exposure to possible theft / assault.

From Liverpool, UK to Pilsin in the Czech Republic with  NFC ticketing in Pilsen – O2 (Czech Republic)PMDP (Pilsen’s transport operator) have introduced an NFC trial to measure the potential for this technology in the future.  The transport operator has understood the possible benefits from using NFC for ticketing and is using this trial with O2 to evaluate the business potential. The Pilsen card on the mobile is the first NFC trial in the Czech Republic. The trial has successfully just finished Phase 1 in June last year (06-2009). More than 50 users with NFC phones (Nokia 6131 NFC & Nokia 6212 classic) were included in the trial and the existing Pilsen card functionality was moved to the NFC mobile meaning there was a possibility to pay for one time ticket in the bus or to use seasonal tickets.

There were already 235,000 plastic cards issued in the city of Pilsen and contactless machines were deployed in buses and trams. About 60 phones with card application were used in the pilot and are still used by pilot participants in a commercial environment. The pilot used the existing contactless infrastructure for the classic plastic cards and the feature to issue card application into the mobile phone was customized ad-hoc on the existing system. There will be a launch of a limited commercial edition of this solution in Q2/2010 (about 1,000 handsets) and the phones will be sold as a package with installed Pilsen card application.

For our final transportation trial we are back in good ol’ Blighty for mBlox’s mobile solution – Mobile ticketing on Arriva buses – mBlox (UK)Mobile ticketing was deployed for Arriva buses in 2009. Interesting to see such a large deployment of mobile ticketing in the UK – a different approach to other transport operators. In November 2009, Arriva became the first UK bus operator to introduce a mobile ticket service for its customers across its regional bus businesses in England, Scotland and Wales.  Consumers can buy daily, weekly and four-weekly tickets via their mobile phones enabling them to use their mobile phones to not only purchase tickets, but also to display them to the driver

Arriva’s introduction of m-ticketing is believed to be the largest deployment of its kind in the world, covering about 1,000 routes served by Arriva’s regional fleet of 4,500 buses. The Arriva m-ticketing solution is deceptively simple to use and also secure, making it one of the ultimate contactless payment services currently available to consumers.

The m-ticket works in three simple steps:

  • Select and purchase their ticket.  Either by credit/debit card or by cash for people who prefer or don’t have a credit/debit card. For cash top-ups, customers will need to add Arriva credit to their phone, using the m-ticket application’s ‘Add-cash’ option at a PayPoint outlet or Arriva Travel shop.
  • Customers register online.  Once registered, the m-ticket application will be sent – free of charge – to their phone.
  • Activate the ticket on the day and time of travel.  Their ticket will be displayed on the mobile phone screen and simply needs to be shown to the driver.  The ticket runs from the date of first use, not purchase
  • In addition, there here are real savings through eliminating the movement of cash and the operational costs of paper ticketing. In the first three months, 8,000 consumers registered and more than 50,000 journeys were made with m-tickets on Arriva Buses. As a mobile based contactless solution the ‘reader’ is the bus driver.  The consumer merely presents their mobile phone app, which displays a colour coded ticket with the relevant details.  Just as with a paper based ticket the bus driver inspects it, and as with other contactless systems the ticket’s redemption is tracked centrally. In the future (along with its partners), Arriva will be bringing the app to the iPhone and BlackBerry.

    So that’s the Transportation category done. I don’t care how you get to the Monkey awards on the 29th – walk, bike or, true to theme, take public transport – we’d just like to see you there.

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