In the spring of 1995, a group of pioneers in the use of contactless technologies for fare collection saw a need for a forum to promote the sharing of information and experience between transit operators. This group of transit leaders from Venice, Lisbon, Paris, and the Bodensee Region of Germany formed the Contactless User Board or CLUB as a not-for-profit association. The mission of CLUB is “to foster worldwide the adoption of Contactless Smartcard Systems, to provide an information exchange platform for members about contactless smart card technology, and to offer various views, feedbacks and visits to concrete installations.”
Across Europe, transit organizations have found benefit from involvement with the organization. Today, 44 members represent more than 200 transport networks. When asked if CLUB membership would benefit transit agencies from other parts of the world, Helene Cron, CLUB Coordinator explains, “we welcome transit operators from around the world. We currently have one member from outside Europe, East Japan Railways, and there are great benefits that CLUB can offer to these operators.”
Each year, members benefit from two association conferences and two on-site visits to locations using advanced fare collection systems. In April, the CLUB Conference was held in Capri, Italy. More than 120 transit leaders from across Europe and beyond spent two days exploring fare collection in general and the specific event theme, “ticketing and fare collection issues surrounding occasional travelers.”
Just weeks ago, a site visit gave CLUB members the opportunity to experience firsthand the Helsinki, Finland ticketing project. More than 40 participants visited the city and met with transit system and vendor representatives. Tours of key locations involved in the project provided participants with a unique chance to see the inner-workings of the program. Currently, 600,000 contactless smart cards are in use in the Helsinki region.
CLUB is vendor, scheme, and technology independent. “We promote contactless technology for transit,” says Ms. Cron. “We do not promote a particular system or technology type.” Membership in the association requires a onetime initiation fee of 3000 euros and an annual membership fee of 2000 euros.
For more information, visit CLUB on the web at www.contactless-club.com or contact Helene Cron at [email protected]