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Citizens travel lighter as mobile transactions take off

by Poppy Johnston •
Free resource

Topics: IT Services; Software; Hardware; Digital Transformation; SA, Qld, Vic, NSW, ACT.

The number of Australian governments considering mobile payments for services is rising, as South Australia becomes the latest jurisdiction to trial phone-based payments for bus and train ticketing.

The three month proof of concept trial by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) recognises the growing interest in contactless and mobile payment services locally and overseas, with Queensland, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory also considering the technology for transport ticketing.

Smartphone transaction services that are already widely disseminated, such as Apple Pay and Android Pay, are currently supported by Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. NFC is the same technology that facilitates other ‘tap-and-go’ transactions, characterised by the close proximity of the two devices required to make the connection.

The majority of these technologies are subject to Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards, as well as various other bank-instigated standards and accreditations.

According to DPTI’s Expression of Interest (EOI), smartphone payment solutions will be tested in a controlled environment, with a predetermined group of test users and travel route.

DPTI intends to spend very little on the proof of concept stage, and will even consider a scaled-back demonstration in the place of a full trial in the interest of cutting costs.

The approach to market follows similar commitments in other jurisdictions to trial new technologies like contactless credit card payments and phone-based payments for public transport ticketing.

In September 2015, Queensland approached the market for the design, build and operation of a new Next Generation Ticketing Solution (NGTS) ahead of the expiration of its go card contract with Cubic Transportation Systems.

According to a Translink spokesperson, the current arrangement with Cubic has been extended to at least September 2019 while the new NGTS is designed, built, tested and implemented.

Translink expects the new solution to “offer customers easy access and the choice of a variety of contactless tokens linked to an account to pay for bus, rail, ferry and tram travel which could include using mobile phones and credit cards.”

The prequalification phase for delivery of the NGTS commenced in July this year, and suppliers have been invited to demonstrate how their proposed ticketing solutions will meet the design, deployment and operation requirements specified by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Public Transport Victoria selected incumbent supplier NTT Data to improve and enhance the current myki system in a seven-year deal worth $700 million earlier this year. As part of the renewed deal, the Victorian Government will assess the viability of contactless credit card and smartphone payments.

After receiving a $3 million in the 2016-17 budget to begin work on a new integrated ticketing system, the Australian Capital Territory is developing a feasibility study to identify options to replace or upgrade MyWay. The feasibility study will explore the viability of contactless credit and debit card payments and mobile ticketing solutions.

Although New South Wales has not formally committed to trailing smartphone ticketing for public transport, Transport Minister Andrew Constance has pledged to trial contactless payments using credit and debit cards in 2017. The declaration came about a year after the Opal smartcard system was fully rolled out across the state’s public transport network.

Despite the state’s relatively slow uptake of new transport ticketing technologies, NSW will soon become the first jurisdiction to permit citizens with Android smartphones to pay for government services in Service NSW centres using Android Pay.

The United Kingdom is recognised as an early adopter of contactless payments for public transport payments, introducing contactless payments using bank cards on London’s Cubic-led Oyster card train, tram and bus transportation system in September 2014, and smartphone-enabled payments using Apple Pay less than a year later in July 2015.  

Relates Articles:

NSW quick to adopt Google’s cashless payment solution

NSW completes Opal smartcard roll-out on trains

NSW transport congested with apps

SA accelerates digital licence program

Qld explores next gen ticketing options to replace go card

$700m myki deal to explore new contactless payments 

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  • Transport