Last year, Orange Spain, the city of MÃ¡laga launched a mobile contactless trial, with the support of technology partners Oberthur, Indra, Samsung and TranserMobile. The test represented the first precommercial stage of a related project on theIberian Peninsula, involving NFC
More than 110 public transport users took part in this pre-commercial experiment, which was implemented across the entire bus network in MÃ¡laga. The users, equipped with an NFC-compatible phone with an embedded EMT-Orange virtual wallet, were able to top-up and validate more than 7,500 journeys during the 10-month pilot project. NFC tags were also installed at over 700 bus stops, informing passengers of how soon the next bus will arrive. The service, which was used over 3,000 times during the course of the experiment, is still fully operational for those with an NFC-compatible phone.
The ability to top-up your ticket immediately using your mobile phone, anytime and anywhere, as well as being able to store everything on your handset and the user-friendliness of the service, all received very positive comments from users. The average score given to the service was 8.2 out of 10. 82% of participants felt that this system was better than the current subscription-based system, and 88% felt that it was a good way to be able to pay for their journeys. 94% would like to continue using the system, and have alreadyrecommended it to their friends and family.
The main areas for improvement concern the expansion of the service to smartphones and increasing the range of tickets available.
The good feedback the trial received show that the possibility of purchasing and validating transport tickets using a mobile phone is on the verge of becoming a commercial reality. With mobile operators struggling to kickstart mobile NFC payments, combining them with other functions such as public transport, could be a solution to getting the public on-board.