The Hyderabad Metro Rail is going to introduce Near Field Communication (NFC) based ticket readers so that commuters can buy tickets using their NFC enabled mobile phones.
According to a new report, Samsung Data Systems, which won the contract to implement Automatic Fare Collection system in the public transit facility, will also create a rounded system which will include automatic ticket vending machines, web and mobile based ticketing among other things.
Using NFC is probably not one of their brightest ideas. Some of the largest phone makers of the world like Apple do not have NFC on their phones. Most feature phones and mid range phones don’t have NFC support. Many new Samsung smartphones don’t ship with NFC (Some versions of their higher end phones like Galaxy SIII ship with NFC). Nokia’s Lumia phones, Sony’s Xperia range, HTC’s higher end phones and LG’s Optimus range support NFC. Except for a few Nokia phones, NFC is a rarity on cell phones these days.
So the idea of tapping the cellphone at the ticket counter and paying for your ticket at the NFC enabled kiosk will stay mostly on paper, unless, of course you buy an NFC enabled phone. A more practical approach would be something like the Transit Card launched by State Bank of India for the Bangalore Metro. The contact-less NFC card has an electronic chip that records the distance traveled by a commuter and deducts fare when the card is swiped.
Nokia is one of the large manufacturers trying to push the NFC technology. The Finnish phone maker is in talks with metro rail projects in the country to introduce a Near Field Communication (NFC) focused ticketing system for its consumers.
For smartphone users, app based systems may work out better as NFC isn’t really ubiquitous. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a few NFC based systems as an option which is what the Hyderabad Metro seems to be getting at.
Various technologies are being applied in different parts of the country to tackle the urban chaos. For instance, last year the National Highway authority introduced Radio frequency identification (RFID) at toll booths on the Delhi-Chandigarh highway to help users make payments without stopping at toll booths.
Around 6 months ago, Paytm launched recharge feature for Smart Tags for the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway Toll Plaza. All you need to do is simply enter your Smart Tag number, select your route and enter the amount. Around the same time, Mumbai’s transport authorities introduced a radio frequency based electronic toll collection system on the Bandra- Worli sea link to speed up traffic movement on the 5.6 km cable stayed bridge linking two of the busiest parts of the city.