Korean buses trial ‘tagless’ Bluetooth fare payments

Tageless Bluetooth fare reader
TAGLESS: Customers taking part in the pilot no longer need to tap the onboard contactless reader to pay

Passengers travelling on three inter-regional bus routes in South Korea’s Gyeonggi-do province can now test a ‘tagless’ fare payment system that enables them to pay for their tickets without needing to tap an onboard contactless reader with their transit card or smartphone.

The system uses Bluetooth technology to enable onboard fare readers located close to the bus doors to detect a Bluetooth signal from a passenger’s smartphone when they board and alight from the vehicle.

To use the service, passengers first install a ‘tagless pay’ app on their smartphone and register a pre- or post-paid transit card that is charged automatically for their fare payments.

“When transferring with subways and buses that do not provide contactless fare payment service, the transfer discount can be applied as it is by touching (tag) the card terminal with the smartphone screen turned on,” Gyeonggi-do Province Transportation Bureau explains.

“In addition, if a passenger presses the app’s mobile drop-off bell button before getting off the bus, an alarm is displayed to the bus driver that there are passengers getting off, eliminating the need to manually press the alight bell or to get up and move.”

A short video (in Korean) shows the system in operation.

The system uses tagless technology developed by South Korean mobility solutions provider Loca Mobility and is being piloted for two months on services running between the Uijeongbu and Yangju areas and Seoul.

“When this technology demonstration is completed, the business will be expanded to intercity/wide area buses from the second half of this year, and the introduction route will be expanded annually to include city/village buses as well,” the Transportation Bureau adds

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