Belgian railways trial ‘check in check out’ app-based fare payments

Fairtiq check in check out’ app-based fare payment system on a smartphone
AUTOMATED: The FTQ Lab app tracks a passenger’s journey then calculates and charges the right fare

Belgian railway operator SNCB is to pilot an automated app-based ticketing system that uses geolocation technology to track a passenger’s journey and then calculates the fare and charges the passenger via the app after that journey is completed.

To use SNCB’s FTQ Lab fare payment system passengers open the app when they are within 500m of their point of departure, confirm their departure station and ‘check in’ to the system by swiping a button on the app.

When they reach their destination, passengers then ‘check out’, again by swiping a button on the app.

The system uses GPS data from the passenger’s smartphone to map the journey from start to finish. It calculates the cheapest ticketing option based on a passenger’s age, the time and day of travel and whether the trip was a single or return journey. The passenger can then pay that fare through the SNCB FTQ Lab app.

The system uses a check-in/check-out system developed by Swiss technology provider Fairtiq that is compatible with both iOS and Android devices and has also been deployed on public transport services in Switzerland and Liechtenstein as well as parts of Germany and Austria.

SNCB carried out an initial test to verify the accuracy of the technology with a limited number of staff and passengers last year and is now inviting passengers to join a wider pilot scheme.

“The positive results of this first test phase made it possible to start a second phase in which ticketing was integrated. Testers can therefore now find a limited number of products from the SNCB range (senior, youth, weekend, standard tickets),” SNCB and Fairtiq say.

“This second phase of the test will be spread over several months, during which SNCB will assess the full experience of this project.”

“SNCB will start this second test phase with 500 people, gradually reaching a maximum of 10,000 testers. Testers will automatically benefit from the best price according to their profile,” they add.

“They will be able to start testing this system during the month of August.”

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