The Local has confirmed that the iconic Parisian Métro ticket will be phased out by 2021.
“For nearly 116 years, from the opening of the first line in 1900, those little rectangles of white paper with a black line on the back – the tickets for a ride on the Paris Metro system, have been with us,” writes Katie Warren of The Local.
”Valérie Pécresse, president of the Ile de France region around Paris, has decided the Métro tickets, which are also used on the city’s buses, will be no more.”
According to Warren, the traditional Métro and bus tickets will be gradually replaced, with the monthly Navigo pass – renamed “smart Navigo” – expected to reside on smartphones as an app. Meanwhile, an anonymous and re-chargeable debit “transport wallet” will be made available for tourists and occasional riders, although Pécresse reportedly hopes travelers will ultimately be able to pay for their journey directly with contactless bankcards, which already comprise 60% of existing cards in France.
“These modifications wouldn’t just affect the Métro but ideally would also extend to the Vélib bicycle rental system, Autolib, parking lots, and even taxis and carpooling,” Warren added.
As the report above illustrates, secure smartcards and smartphone apps are a giant leap forward for public transportation systems that have used paper tickets and tokens for decades. To be sure, friction-free commerce, whether enabled via a smartcard or smartphone, clearly represents the future of public transportation in Europe and beyond.
Indeed, transit riders in New York and Washington, D.C. will soon be replacing their plastic fare cards with those featuring near-field communication (NFC) capabilities or radio frequency technology (RFID), enabling riders to use smartphones or credit cards to tap their way through turnstiles or onto buses. According to Fortune, the city of Chicago has already swapped paper and plastic fare cards for the contactless Ventra card, which allows riders to tap and enter rail turnstiles and buses.
The increased adoption of friction-free commerce by public transport operators, as well as brick-and-mortar merchants, is a critical prerequisite for the evolution of smarter cities and will enable passengers to travel seamlessly across various transport system. In a broader sense, MIT Professor Carlo Ratti, an engineer, designer and director of the school’s Senseable City Lab, says smart cities are continuing to experience the diversification of transportation portfolios and an increase in ambient mobility.
“In the past, you used to have to go to a central station to exchange from say a train to a bus. Now you can transfer in so many different places,” he explained during a recent interview with Curbed. “You might take a train, then ride an Uber, then pick up a bike, and you can do it in a much easier way, because you have real-time information about all these modes of transportation. That’s what I mean by ambient technology.”
To be sure, the smart cities of the future will likely see residents routinely use their smartphones and wearables to interact with multiple transportation systems, augmented reality (AR) apps, smart sensors and Bluetooth beacons. However, as Ratti notes, there are a number of political and technological decisions regarding evolving smart city infrastructure that will need to be decided by good design practices.
“A lot of ideas will arise and a lot of decisions will need to be made, and hopefully, we can learn and adapt and make the right decisions,” he concluded.