The Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens, or RATP, operates the large metro, bus and tram network in Paris and has been an early experimenter with NFC and contactless-mobile ticketing.

The transit operator held internal and public trials in 2006 and 2007 with mobile operators France Telecom-Orange and Bouygues Telecom, putting the contactless Navigo fare-collection application on SIM cards in NFC or NFC-like phones. Transit operators in Ile-de-France have issued Navigo cards since 2003.

Frustrated by the lack of NFC phones, RATP in 2009 began testing contactless stickers for mobile phones, including NFC stickers designed to communicate with the electronics of the handsets they were attached to via a Bluetooth connection in both the phone and sticker. That test was not entirely successful because of battery problems in a prototype sticker, says RATP. The vendor, France-based Twinlinx, has come out with a newer version. RATP has invested a significant amount of money in Twinlinx to further develop a workable sticker.

RATP is also working with payment-card companies Visa Europe and MasterCard Worldwide along with its acquiring bank, La Banque Postale, to accept contactless bank cards directly at the metro turnstile and onboard buses and trams. It hopes to conduct tests accepting Visa payWave and MasterCard PayPass in early 2010. Within three to five years it would like to enable direct payment of fares with all contactless bank cards, a move that would require upgrades of all RATP terminals and development with the payment-card schemes and its bank of a much larger back-end system to process the fare payment.

Banks could also put the payWave and PayPass applications on NFC phones. RATP sees value in the open-loop payment concept, especially to reduce its dependence on single-use tickets for the throngs of tourists and other occasional riders it must accommodate.

Key figures: 
Navigo Passes
Cards 4.5 3.4
In millions, figures are for Jan. 2009 and June 2008.
Source: RATP
Key NFC Personnel: 
Philippe Grasser, head of téléservices
Michel Barjansky, innovation manager
Major NFC and Contactless competitors: 
Last Updated: 
Nov 2009


Australian Transit Agency to Launch Mobility-as-a-Service Trial as It Pursues Long-Term MaaS Strategy

Plans by Transport for New South Wales, Australia’s largest transit agency, to launch a trial enabling users to plan, book and pay for multimodal rides is the next step toward the agency’s long-ter

Updated: U.S. Transit Agency Seeks to Reduce–Though Not Eliminate–Cash Acceptance with New Fare-Collection System

Updated: The Spokane Transit Authority in Washington state confirmed that its new fare-collection system will include contactless open-loop payments–with a beta test planned for next October, a spokesman told NFC Times' sister publication Mobility Payments.

UK Government Seeks to Bring London-Style Contactless Fare Payments System to Other Regions

The UK government’s plan to equip 700 rail stations over the next three years to accept contactless open-loop payments is a major initiative, as it seeks to replicate the success of London’s contactless pay-as-you go fare payments system elsewhere in the country–a goal that has proved elusive in the past.

More Cities in Finland Expected to Move to Open-Loop Fare Payments

A fourth city in Finland is beginning to roll out contactless open-loop payments, with “more in the pipeline,” according to one supplier on the project, making the Nordic country one of the latest hotspots for the technology.

Moscow Metro Expands Test of ‘Virtual Troika’ in Pays Wallets, as It Continues to Develop Digital-Payments Services

Moscow Metro is recruiting more users to test its “Virtual Troika” card in two NFC wallets, those supporting Google Pay and Samsung Pay, as one of the world’s largest subway operators continues to seek more ways for its customers to pay for rides.

Ohio Transit Agency Expects Significant Revenue Loss as it Builds Equity with Fare Capping

The Central Ohio Transit Authority, or COTA, officially launched its new digital-payments service Monday, including a fare-capping feature that the agency estimates will cost it $1.8 million per year in lost fare revenue, the agency confirmed to Mobility Payments.

Special Report: Interest Grows in ‘White-Label EMV’ for Closed-Loop Transit Cards

As more transit agencies introduce open-loop fare payments, interest is starting to grow in use of white-label EMV cards that agencies can issue in place of proprietary closed-loop cards for riders who don’t have bank cards or don’t want to use them to pay fares.

Swedish Transit Agency Launches Express Mode Feature for Apple Pay, though Most Ticketing Still with Barcode-Based App

Skånetrafiken, the transit agency serving one of Sweden’s largest counties, announced today it has expanded its contactless open-loop payments service to include the Express Mode feature for Apple Pay.

Major Bus Operators in Hong Kong Now Accepting Open-Loop Payments–Adding More Competition for Octopus

Two more bus operators in Hong Kong on Saturday launched acceptance of open-loop contactless fare payments, with both also accepting QR code-based mobile ticketing–as the near ubiquitous closed-loop Octopus card continues to see more competition.

Moscow Metro Launches Full Rollout of ‘Face Pay;’ Largest Biometric Payments Service of Its Kind

Touting it as the largest rollout of biometric payments in the world, Moscow Metro launched its high-profile “Face Pay” service Friday, as expected, and predicted that 10% to 15% would regularly us

Indonesian Capital Seeks to Expand to Multimodal Fare Collection and MaaS

Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, whose metropolitan area is home to more than 30 million people, is notorious for its stifling traffic congestion. In response, the government metro and light-rail networks and now it is funding an expansion of the fare-collection system to enable more multimodal payments and to build a mobility-as-a-service platform.

Exclusive: NFC Wallets Grow as Share of Contactless Fare Payments and Not Only Because of Covid

Transit agencies that have rolled out open-loop contactless payments are seeing growing use of NFC wallets to pay fares, as Covid-wary passengers see convenience in tapping their phones or wearables to pay.