The key role of transit

[Dave Birch] At a couple of events I’ve been too recently, the key role of transit applications in the NFC world has been reinforced. In some markets, it may well be transit rather than payment that is the initial driving application for NFC handset rollout, which means that the payments guys need to work with the transit guys (both at the simple level of auto-topup but also with more complex value-added services, such as transit-based rewards) to bring the customers on board. Yesterday, another transit-centric NFC pilot was announced yesterday, this time in San Francisco.

Beginning today, pre-selected trial participants will exchange their existing mobile phones for the Sprint trial phones embedded with the NFC enabled smart chip – a chip that will allow them to securely pay for both their fares and their fries. “In BART’s case, a participant will initially have a stored value of $48 worth of BART rides loaded onto their NFC enabled mobile phone,“ BART Director James Fang said. “Once the stored value drops below $10 the NFC technology automatically reloads the phone “˜over the air’ with another $48 worth of rides and the customer will automatically receive our high-value discount, so they will only be charged $45.“

[From => BART Trial First to Use Mobile Phones to Pay for Fares & Food <=]

In case you’re interested, here’s one of the phones that I was playing around with in our office:

Samsung BART phone

Many, many years ago I used to work at BART, so I couldn’t resist posting a picture over on one of my other cyberdens. If you want to see some truly shocking behaviour in the Bay Area in the 1980s, have a look over on my personal work blog.

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