Far north's phone ticket trial

Paying a bus fare by smart phone will soon be an option for some North Queensland commuters

Far north's phone ticket trial
Far north gets phone ticket trial

By Sean Muir | May 24, 2012

Paying a bus fare with a smart phone will soon be an option for some passengers in North Queensland, where a Near Field Communication (NFC) trial is about to take place.

Moore Stephens Technology Australia Managing Director Garry Childs, pictured, says the three-month NFC trial will be the first of its kind in Australia.

"As far as NFC is concerned, I believe it is the first," Childs says.

Near Field Communication (NFC) is the radio communication between smartphones and similar devices that takes place when they are held close together.

Childs says a North Queensland operator - who wishes to remain anonymous due to current commercial agreements - ordered the first of up to 75 smart card ticketing machines to be used in the NFC trial yesterday.

He says once these machines are rolled out, about 30 smart phones will be given to selected passengers, allowing them to pay for bus fares using a smart phone application, which will interface with the NFC technology.

He says the technology will allow each passenger involved in the trial to pay for bus fares simply by holding his or her phone close to the ticketing machines.

"It is great technology," Childs says.

Childs says the machines will deduct bus fares from accounts, which can also be topped up using the smart phone application.

"The mobile phones will have an application on it, and with that you’re able to top it up or pay the balance of it through a secure gateway to your bank," Childs says.

Childs says passengers will also be able to access real-time timetable information using the smart phone application.

"If they want timetable information they will able to just hold the phone against a poster on the bus, and download the timetable for that particular zone."

The ticket machines will interface with the technology company’s integrated software suite Bus and Coach System (BaCS), which Moore Stephen’s began installing at the North Queensland bus operation last week.

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