Transit operator CTS has announced the launch of an NFC mobile ticketing service on public transport in the French city of Strasbourg, in partnership with mobile network operators Orange, Bouygues Telecom, SFR and NRJ Mobile.
Using the new U'Go mobile application, passengers can buy either monthly or daily tickets for bus and tram journeys in the area; payments of up to €15 are charged to the user's mobile phone bill. For payments higher than €15, users are required to enter their bank card details to complete the purchase.
NFC tags have been located in tram stations and attached to ticketing machines on buses in the region; customers tap their phones against the tags to validate their prepaid ticket before travelling. Passengers must have a mobile data connection to use the system. The system also allows users to validate mobile tickets for up to 24 hours after their battery goes flat or while their phone is turned off.
The U'Go app is now available for Orange subscribers to download from the network's Cityzi app store, and availability on other networks is set to follow.
A spokesperson for CTS told NFC World: "We have a special agreement with the mobile network operators involved to make it possible for payments of up to €15 to be charged to a user's telephone invoice.
"Beginning in April, we launched a pilot. We had 650 people applying to be a part of the pilot that we conducted; they all wanted to be able to put this app to the test. Only 153 of all of those who applied had the right phone, an NFC phone, to take part in the pilot so this says a lot.
"So, for the time being we are only working with this scale of people but I think the service will grow in popularity when NFC phones are more readily available on the market. Only around 5% of the population in France has NFC phone at this moment."