TravelMaster lets iPhone users update their travel cards via NFC

Smartphone with TravelMaster logo on the left
ADDED APPLE: iPhone users can now use NFC to add TravelMaster tickets bought online to their contactless travel card

Public transportation users in South Yorkshire can now purchase bus, tram and train tickets online and then transfer their ticket onto their smart travel card using the NFC contactless card writing capabilities that Apple has made available in iOS13.

The service has been introduced by TravelMaster, the jointly owned ticketing agency for South Yorkshire’s public transportation operators.

Android users have been able to use NFC to add tickets bought online to their contactless travel card since April 2019.

Customers without a compatible smartphone are still able to access the service, but need to use an on-vehicle ticketing machine to load their new ticket onto their card.

“The new system means that customers will be able to buy their transport tickets at their own convenience at home, at work or anywhere else that they can access the internet without having to worry about having the correct change on board or having to go out of their way to find somewhere that sells the ticket they need,” TravelMaster explained when launching the Android version of the service.

“With the TravelMaster Download App, any ticket that a customer buys through the website can be loaded to their smart card using any Android device with an NFC reader and the app installed.

“This means that it doesn’t matter if they don’t have their own Android device so long as they know someone who does.”

“We’re hopeful that as the system is enhanced with more places to collect purchased products added throughout the year, and as more people buy their tickets off-vehicle, we will also contribute to increased punctuality through reducing delays that can be caused by tickets being bought on board,” general manager of TravelMaster Matt Smallwood explained.

How it works

To buy a ticket, customers visit TravelMaster’s website, register their transit smartcard, select the ticket they wish to purchase and pay with a debit or credit card.

The ticket is then queued for collection and can be loaded to their travel card using the TravelMaster Download App installed on any NFC-compatible Android phone or on any iPhone 7 or newer with iOS 13 installed.

The addition of support for iOS users means that “South Yorkshire is amongst the first places in the world offering passengers the ability to load a travel ticket to a smartcard through an iPhone,” TravelMaster says.

“As a result, over 95% of smartphone users in South Yorkshire, across Apple and Android devices, can now buy flexible multi-operator transport tickets for the region at their own convenience and before they travel.”