Everything Everywhere trials mobile ticketing service

Network operator Everything Everywhere is deploying a mobile contactless transport ticketing service in the UK, which could lead to a nationwide roll out across select bus and rail services in 2013.

The operator, formed by the merger of T-Mobile and Orange in the UK, announced its partnership with transport firm Stagecoach Group to launch the country’s first commercial deployment of such a service.

A trial of the service is already underway in the county of Cambridgeshire and has enabled a small sample group to receive, store and validate their bus tickets using their mobile phone.

The operator has given each participant in the trial an NFC-enabled Quick Tap handset installed with an app to make them compatible with the local bus network’s smartcard readers, allowing them to travel on Stagecoach buses in the county.

The trial uses the Department of Transport’s Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation (ITSO) smart ticketing technology, and aims to monitor the levels of customer convenience the Quick Tap service provides.

The UK Government is working to deliver, along with transport operators and public sector bodies, the infrastructure to enable most public transport journeys to be undertaken using smart ticketing by December 2014.

According to Informa Telecoms and Media, sales of NFC-enabled devices are expected to accelerate from 2013 onwards, with the availability of a larger range of mobile NFC handsets and an improved contactless POS infrastructure. Total NFC handset shipments are expected to grow from almost 44 million in 2011 to over 630 million in 2015, representing 40 per cent of all new handsets, up from 3.5 per cent at present.

“Smart phones 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.”

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