A four-month near field communication trial involving Bay Area Rapid Transit riders in San Francisco that enabled them to use their Sprint-supplied cell phones to both pay for fares and food, has been deemed a success. Companies participating in the trial–BART, First Data and ViVOtech–released the results of the Jan. 28 to May 30, 2008 trial which showed high usage in both transit fares and retail payments.
The results show that BART riders who took part in the trial extensively used their contactless, NFC-enabled phones to pay for their BART fares and meals at participating Jack in the Box restaurants. The results also show that participants at BART stations frequently tapped smart advertisements in BART stations with their NFC phones. These posters contained directions to nearby Jack in the Box restaurants.
Specifically, participants took nearly 9,000 trips on BART during the trial. This represents an average of 50 trips per participant, who also topped-up their BART card balances more than 800 times using the over-the-air (OTA) feature of their NFC-equipped phones. More than 80% of trial participants indicated that the mobile wallet application was easy to use.
ViVOtech developed the wallet software for the NFC mobile phones and the OTA card provisioning servers that Sprint used for the trial. This enabled 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 provided the contactless payment devices that read the NFC-enabled chips at Jack in the Box restaurants.
Read previous covers of the BART trial here.