The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is on track to kick off a trial run that will see a select group of train passengers use their smartphones as tickets. Rail services between Huddersfield and Leeds stations will participate in the trial, as both stations are equipped with ticket gates that support NFC technology.
As Rian Boden of NFC World reports, the technology behind the app was developed by Rambus Ecebs and uses HCE. This, combined with an app developed by Penrillian, enables passengers to purchase a ticket directly from their mobile phone. The mobile device then acts as the host for that ticket and, through the NFC facility, communicates with the card reader/ticket barrier to enable automatic recognition of the purchased ticket.
“As the demand for interoperable smart ticketing grows, so does the use of mobile devices to deliver new and exciting services,” Rambus Ecebs managing director, Russell McCullagh, told Business Quarter Live. “Rambus Ecebs [is] delighted to support ITSO in delivering truly mobile and secure smart ticketing.”
As Cllr Keith Wakefield, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee points out, the smartphone pilot program could potentially benefit customers across the north and beyond.
“We believe customers will welcome the opportunity to use their smartphone to purchase a ‘smart ticket,’ safe in the in the knowledge that the transaction is secure,” he stated.
Steve Wakeland, ITSO’s general manager, expressed similar sentiments.
“The delivery of the Transport for the North trial is a significant landmark in the development of HCE with ITSO on smartphones,” he said. “We have been working very closely with our members and suppliers on the solution for the trial and through their knowledge and expertise we have been able to identify various technologies and approaches relating to HCE. We will continue to explore these different options, with the objective of identifying viable solutions for broader adoption and rollout by our members.”
Previously on Rambus Press, when reviewing the use of HCE in the payment industry, we have discussed how HCE provides a bridge between the cardholder, the point-of-sale (POS) and the service provider, such as an issuing bank. In the transport arena, a similar analogy applies between a passenger (the customer), the gate (at the railway station) and the transport operator. As in the payment environment, HCE does not require any specific hardware changes to the infrastructure nor optimization to support this.
This means that the mobile device acts as a virtual representation of a contactless smart card, enabling transport operators to maximize the potential capabilities of smartphones (which are already in circulation) as an alternative to issuing and managing their own cards.