Xerox has shown its next-generation approach to secure ticketless public transport payment by smartphone at the 11th ITS European Congress, taking place in Glasgow, UK, from June 6-9. The launch of the company’s Seamless Transportation Solution follows a successful nine-month pilot of the technology with the Valence Romans Déplacements (VRD) local transport authority in the city and surrounding area of Valence, in southeastern France.
Speaking exclusively to Traffic Technology Today, Richard Harris, solution director of transportation and government international public sector, Xerox, revealed more about the system: “For the first time, there’s a platform that enables members of the public to use their credit card and phone to access buses, trains, metros and other transportation systems. For authorities, the benefit is that they get access to the latest technology to make their services easier to use.”
Seamless operates as a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) business model. Operators install Near Field Communication (NFC) tags provided by Xerox on their transport network. Users then download the app onto their NFC-enabled smartphone and register with Xerox Seamless to activate their account. To travel, they simply tap their smartphone on any Seamless NFC tag. Billing is processed automatically at the end of the month, based on the number of trips completed on the various transport providers.
“The city of Valence in France were interested, so we’ve been running a pilot with them since September 2015. Two hundred people have been using NFC tags on their phones, as well as the Seamless app, and they love it. We also love it because it gives us the opportunity to help people capitalize on ITS better,” Harris said.
“Up until now, if there had been a bike share scheme, there was a back office to process the database admin. If there was a congestion charge scheme, there was also a back office to process the database admin. Most of these databases held the same information, yet the user had to sign up to each scheme, which was silly. In the world of ITS, Seamless joins things up,” Harris added.
Xerox operates a complete service for transportation networks, including the back-office system that handles: integration of data required to process fares; customer service and billing; and reconciliation of the fares/services processed for affiliated transport operators/service providers.
“When I travel to a new city, I am always faced with the challenge: do I learn how the transportation system works or do I take an expensive taxi? Now, when you see the Seamless icon when you arrive at a station, you’ll know that there is a trip planner available and a way to pay for your travel that you can understand,” said Harris.