Transport for the North set to trial HCE for travel payments

FAST TRACK: Train users in West Yorkshire are set to trial a mobile app for ticket purchasing

UK commuters travelling across West Yorkshire may soon be able to make host card emulation (HCE) based mobile payments for journeys using a service scheduled to be trialed in the autumn by staff of Transport for the North (TfN) in collaboration with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee.

The pilot will use a mobile app supplied by ITSO, a government-backed non-profit organisation whose Specification is the UK technical standard for interoperable smart ticketing.

“The technology behind the app was developed by Rambus Ecebs and uses HCE,” ITSO says. “This, combined with an app developed by Penrillian, enables passengers to purchase a ticket directly to their mobile phone. The mobile device then acts as the host for that ticket and, through the NFC facility, communicates with the card reader/ticket barrier to enable automatic recognition of the purchased ticket.

“The trial, due to commence in the autumn, will use a small test group of staff who will be issued with NFC-enabled smartphones with the ITSO HCE app installed. Staff will be able to test purchasing and downloading tickets to their phone as well as using the phone for validation purposes on ticket barriers.”

“The trial will operate on train lines between Huddersfield and Leeds stations where a number of ticketing gates have been configured to accept this new ITSO-based technology,” the organisation adds. “Smart ticketing is one of Transport for the North’s main goals in achieving its vision to boost the economy of the north of England with a host of transport improvements.”

“Shared payment platforms that allow truly smart ticketing across a number of devices, taking into account user preferences, are key to a positive passenger travel experience,” says David Brown, chief executive of Transport for the North. “This trial is one of a number of initiatives moving us closer to that vision.”

“The delivery of the Transport for the North trial is a significant landmark in the development of HCE with ITSO on smartphones,” adds Steve Wakeland, ITSO general manager. “We have been working very closely with our members and suppliers on the solution for the trial, and through their knowledge and expertise we have been able to identify various technologies and approaches relating to HCE.

“We will continue to explore these different options with the objective of identifying viable solutions for broader adoption and roll out by our members. We want to give our members the confidence to enter into this new market.”

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