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Orange Releases Results of NFC Transit Ticketing Trial in Spain

More than 100 users in a 10-month trial of NFC transit ticketing in Málaga, Spain, tapped for a total of 7,500 rides and got information from smart posters at bus stops more than 3,000 times, France Telecom-Orange has announced.

Orange Spain and Málaga transit operator EMT launched the trial in February of 2012, and 110 users participated, using an NFC-enabled Samsung phone with an “embedded EMT-Orange virtual wallet.”

The transit application was likely loaded on NFC SIM cards, and users could top up their tickets over the air. They could tap to ride on EMT’s fleet of buses in the Andalusian city. There were also NFC tags deployed at more than 700 bus stops. By tapping, users find out how soon the next bus would arrive.

The telco said results of a survey of trial participants–all of whom were frequent public transport users–showed 82% “felt that this system was better than the current subscription-based system,” while 88% said they believed it was a “good way to be able to pay” for trips. And 94% said they would like to continue to use the system and had “already recommended it to their friends and family.”

Users made just under half of over-the-air top-ups during hours that ticket offices were closed. More than 98% of the top-ups were successful, and 99% of ticket cancellations, when necessary, worked, said the telco. Orange, however, did not release the number of times users topped up or total amount of the top-ups.

But users said they wanted the service to expand to smartphones and wanted an increase in the range of tickets available for use on their phones.

The parties also held an NFC transit-ticketing trial in 2008, or were scheduled to do so. 

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