The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is introducing near field communication to 230 of its riders, allowing them to use their NFC-equipped phones to pay for their rides, as well as obtain local Jack in the Box and Sprint advertisements and promotions or local directions by tapping their phones against designated posters.
OAKLAND, CA – A select group of BART riders is helping to launch a first-in-the-nation technological trial that will allow participants to walk up to any BART fare gate with a specially-equipped Sprint wireless phone and pay for their ride by tapping the phone on a reader located on top of the gate.
Once through the gate, the 230 trial participants can hold their specifically-equipped Sprint mobile phone up to certain Jack in the Box® and Sprint “smart advertisements” on BART station walls and download either directions to the nearest Jack in the Box restaurant or content from Sprint.
Then, after taking the train to their favorite Jack in the Box location, participants can use their phone to pay for their meal. All this thanks to a developing new technology called “Near Field Communication” (NFC) and First Data Corporation–a global technology leader in the payments industry providing end-to-end solutions for credit, debit, loyalty and stored value transactions.
How it works
The four month trial is much different from others in that it is the first to give participants the added benefit of automatically receiving the discounts and offers which companies usually only provide to customers who have enrolled in their loyalty programs. In the past, other pay-by-mobile-phone trials have just allowed customers to pay for goods and services using a credit card tied to their phone, which often prevented them from automatically receiving the discounts merchants provide. However, in this trial participants will automatically get those special discounts. For example, participants will automatically get the 6.25% discount BART provides those who purchase high-value tickets.
Beginning today, pre-selected trial participants will exchange their existing mobile phones for the Sprint trial phones embedded with the NFC enabled smart chip – a chip that will allow them to securely pay for both their fares and their fries. “In BART’s case, a participant will initially have a stored value of $48 worth of BART rides loaded onto their NFC enabled mobile phone,” BART Director James Fang said. “Once the stored value drops below $10 the NFC technology automatically reloads the phone ‘over the air’ with another $48 worth of rides and the customer will automatically receive our high-value discount, so they will only be charged $45.”
“Additionally, participants can check their balance using their phones at any time. We’re very hopeful this type of technology catches on because the implications are widespread–including making BART more convenient since riders won’t need to spend time buying a paper ticket and making BART ‘greener’ since we won’t have to print as many paper tickets” Fang said.
“Sprint is looking forward to evaluating the results from the preliminary trial of this new technology It has the potential to allow trial participants to quickly manage their daily commute and make payments using the one device they carry with them throughout the day,” said Thad Langford, vice president, strategic partners and innovation, Sprint. “For trial users, this capability could complement the many other phone applications that Sprint offers, including music, video, navigation, walkie-talkie and more, that make customers’ lives more productive and enjoyable.”
“First Data is pleased to bring its stored value solutions together with its robust payments infrastructure capable of processing transactions anytime, anywhere and from any device, including mobile phones,” Barry McCarthy, president of First Data Mobile Solutions said. “Through our demonstrated commitment to the mobile commerce space, First Data will enable easier acceptance of payments for merchants and make the purchase of goods and services convenient and secure for consumers. We’re excited to be on the forefront of this evolving technology where First Data will play a pivotal role in the development of new-to-the-world mobile solutions.”
There are several other companies playing important roles in this trial:
Acumen Transit developed software for the NFC mobile phone implementation as well as performed custom hardware engineering for a demonstration to simulate the use of NFC technology;
Cubic Transportation Systems is BART’s sole provider of automatic fare collection equipment and participated in the overall systems integration of this project. Cubic envisions significant enhancements to patron convenience and transit operating cost profiles by virtue of collaborative relationships like those assembled in this trial;
Booz Allen Hamilton–a global strategy and technology consultant–facilitated the strategy development. It also leads the business case analysis and is providing project management support;
NXP Semiconductors, which is the leading manufacturer of NFC chips and co-creator of NFC technology, developed the chips for the Sprint NFC enabled mobile phones to facilitate secure, contactless communication between the mobile devices and BART’s fare gate readers; Samsung Mobile, which has had a long history of bringing innovative technology to the workplace, is the sole handset provider for this NFC trial;
ViVOtech developed the NFC software for the mobile phones and the Over-the-Air (OTA) card provisioning servers that Sprint is using for the trial – enabling participants to remotely download their BART fare and Jack Ca$h™ gift cards onto their mobile phones, check their card balances, review previous transactions, automatically top up their cards and use their phones to pay for BART fares and Jack in the Box food. ViVOtech also provides the contactless payment devices that read the NFC enabled chips at Jack in the Box restaurants; Western Union® Payment Services provides the self service internet options for participants to register their payment information and processes the automatic top up payment when a BART rider’s stored value drops below $10. Participants can also review any historical payment information or change their payment information over the internet.