Time to get mobile
ISSUE NUMBER: TT137

A significant new ticketing trial is about to get under way in West Yorkshire, with the potential to allow passengers to use a mobile phone as an ITSO smartcard. If successful the technology could be introduced rapidly and could form one of the "quick wins" Transport for the North is seeking in fulfilling its brief to introduce smart ticketing across the north of England.

The trial, expected to get under way before Christmas, involves train operators Northern and TransPennine Express, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and TfN, and suppliers Rambus Ecebs, Penrillian and Yorcard. Members of WYCA staff will be issued with weekly West Yorkshire mCards to travel between Leeds and Huddersfield.

Previous attempts by transport operators and mobile phone providers to introduce ITSO-compliant mobile ticketing have not succeeded either for technical reasons or through the inability to develop a viable business case. Numerous UK operators use m-ticketing based on Masabi's JustRide platform, which allows customers to buy tickets from their phone and display them as a visual representation or bar code, but the solution does not allow interaction with ITSO card readers. With the appearance of mobile phones with host card emulation, which allows the phone to replicate a smartcard, and near field communication, the technical obstacles to ITSO mobile ticketing appear to have been overcome.

Full article available in the current issue of Transport Times

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