The 2011 Contactless Monkey Award Finalists – Transportation

We’re almost at the end of our categories now. Just a couple more to go, and the 14th 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, onto France and even taking a quick stop in South Africa and then back to Russia – regular Magical Mystery Tour, this. All aboard! – next stop; Transportation!

  • ITSO scheme in Oxford – Go Ahead (UK)
  • NFC Ticketing in Nice – Veolia Transport (France)
  • Open loop ticketing in South Africa – Aconite/Traderoot Africa (South Africa)
  • Transportation ticketing in Sochi – NXP (Russia)

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. Go-Ahead is one of the UK’s leading providers of passenger transport services operating primarily in the bus and rail sectors. Go-Ahead Group has recently implemented the largest commercial ITSO smartcard scheme currently in the UK, in Oxford. The implementation, for Oxford Bus Company, includes 22,000 commercial smartcards, under the brand name “thekey”, as well as the ability to validate concessionary English National Concessionary Travel Scheme cards electronically.
Within the first four weeks of launch, 35,000 daily journeys were already being made by bus passengers in Oxford, with approximately two thirds of these using the Oxford key smartcard and one third using the concessionary passes. Oxford Bus Company’s ITSO scheme replaces an existing proprietary smartcard, which had been operating for seven years. The technology was not ITSO compliant, however, and therefore has had to be converted in order to comply with the government’s preferred smartcard standard. The new ITSO scheme includes a wide range of products, available to buy both online or in person at Oxford Bus Company’s travel shop in Debenhams in the city centre. There are three main product variants:

  • Annual season, for very regular commuters;
  • Period season, activated on first use and available in 1, 4 or 13 week blocks;
  • Multi journey, a convenient pay as you go product, for occasional passengers.

Oxford Bus Company’s scheme includes 160 buses. There are also four Retail Point of Sale units for topping up cards. 22,000 key cards have been issued to customers, whilst the scheme is open to all English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) card holders.

Next to come along is Veolia Transport. For those that don’t know, Veolia Transport is a global company working in 28 countries, with over 75,000 employees managing over 1.88 billion trips. In 1999, Veolia were the first company to operate a smartcard ticketing system using Calypso technology (“contactless” smart card) in Nice, South of France. Since then, they have continued to improve and update the service, resulting in an NFC ticketing solution implemented on 21st May 2010 called BPASS. This system works through your mobile, allowing you to buy your tickets wherever and whenever you want, validate, access to real time passenger information (schedules, next arrivals, delays, etc.), as well as neighbourhood information (cultural info, calendar city events, etc.). Heres an explanatory video, and here’s another.

BPASS is a solution specified, implemented and funded by Veolia Transport; and made available to local authorities. This transport service is multi telecom operators (Orange, Bouygues Telecom, SFR, NRJmobile), and multimodal. BPASS fits more broadly into an ecosystem of NFC services on contactless mobile phones which provide payment (the mobile phone becomes payment card), loyalty programs or incentives, community information and entertainment services (access to real-time information, city information etc.).
May 21st 2010 was the commercial launch of BPASS in Nice. However, this service is designed to be deployed in multiple contexts, in France and abroad. BPASS is part of a global approach initiated by Veolia Transport, which aims to simplify and make public transport more attractive.

Nice project’s success is due mainly to the mobilization and involvement of all stakeholders of the ecosystem of mobile contactless: Veolia Transport and its suppliers, telecom operators, and the city of Nice. There are 3000 contactless mobile phones by the end of 2010, and many more planned for 2011.

Nice’s success can now be projected as part of an industrial deployment in 2011, supported by:

  • The arrival of a rich range of new contactless mobile phones
  • The deployment in other French cities in the near future: Nice’s example has attracted interest from major French cities who responded to the declaration of intention issued by the Ministry of Industry last summer. Many international delegations (from Asia, North America, Europe) have travelled to Nice to try BPASS.

Down to South Africa now. In South Africa, the National Department of Transport has mandated the use of EMV compliant cards for all new mass transit initiatives. Driving cash out of the system, whilst providing universal access to transport systems, requires that the unbanked be given cards, which necessitates the use of prepaid cards. Achieving the fast throughput required for transit fare payments demands the use of contactless cards and offline authorisation of transactions. Other requirements include anonymous token issuing, and the related anti-money laundering, real-time fee calculation and specific card management functionality.

To meet the requirements, Aconite and Traderoot Africa provide an end-to-end, prepaid, contactless EMV chip card system that facilitates offline authorisation without incurring any material credit risk.

Aconite provides a vital role in the full solution, with Aconite PrePaid Value Manager being tightly integrated to the Traderoot issuing platform, UPIP, which fulfils all responsibilities around the management of the EMV prepaid accounts, including scripting. (Traderoot Africa has integrated its own technology with other business and technology partners). Aconite Prepaid Value Manager maintains shadow accounts for the prepaid cards, tracking both funds available for downloading to the card and the remaining balance of funds already downloaded, and authorises any online transactions taking account of available funds on the card and shadow account and of uncleared transactions.

The solution can be operated by a bank or by a Third Party Processor, which would them provide on-behalf-of services to sponsor banks and the solution typically comprises

  • the prepaid issuing and account management platform
  • a financial switch
  • an issuing aggregator
  • an acquiring aggregator
  • interface to transit operator
  • interface to sponsoring issuing bank

The system is currently a limited-scale live pilot, but anticipated figures for the project over the next 3 years are: upto 14,000 tap devices in taxis and 500,000 commuter cards.

Last but by no means least is a transport ticketing solution in Sochi (Russia) from NXP. Sochi is a city in Russia, situated just north of Russia’s border with the republic of Georgia, on the Black Sea coast and is the largest Russian resort city. The city has been selected to be the host of the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014, as well as the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2014 until at least 2020.It is also one of the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Serving Sochi’s population of 500,000 residents and one million tourists annually, the MIFARE Plus-based systems will help improve the overall passenger experience and drive operational efficiencies. Eliminating the need for cash, passengers will be able to purchase and fill up contactless travel cards and season tickets at the automatic smart-card payment terminals, speeding up passenger embarkation.

“This is a significant project for NXP, Strikh-M and the other partners involved in this project and serves as a role model for other similar projects in the region. We are confident that all residents of Sochi will benefit from this contactless solution and that it will enable the city to prepare for the upcoming Olympics,” said Henri Ardevol, general manager of secure transactions, NXP Semiconductors. “At NXP we are seeing increasing demand for contactless technology in Russia and the other CIS states. Major operators such as the Moscow Metro already use our technology, and the MIFARE portfolio of products provides system integrators with the flexibility to create an AFC system based on the individual needs of the customer, while offering a clear upgrade path to help increase levels of security when required.”

The project is an essential part of Sochi’s preparation for building a highly secure AFC system for the Olympic Games. At present, the city expects to receive about 400,000 additional visitors to the city during February 2014, and the MIFARE Plus-based AFC system will enable the local transport operator to scale up for the larger number of passengers it will be required to carry. Contactless readers will be included on all of the city’s buses and once rollout has been completed, contactless cards will be available for purchase and recharging around the entire city.

So that’s the Transportation category done. I don’t care how you get to the Monkey awards on the 14th – walk, bike or, true to theme, take public transport – we’d just like to see you there.