Aztec based codes initially readable @ 3 English rail stations
As something of a breakthrough, Masabi – a specialist developer of mobile ticketing has enabled British train operator First Capital Connect to roll out its first mTicket capability at three English railway stations. An mTicket enables a smartphone user to purchase a ticket electronically with no need to collect it physically from a ticket office or machine. Instead the mTicket is displayed onscreen as an encrypted Aztec code. [Note: Not a QR code!]. Machines at London King’s Cross, Cambridge and King’s Lynn will initially be able to read these mTickets as will conductors’ portable ticket machines. The plan is to be able to roll it out to other locations including London’s Gatwick airport. FCC is strangely coy about the number of platforms able to run its ‘Rail Tickets’ app. There are Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Nokia apps, for example.
The advantage to an mTicket is that it turns your smartphone into a personalised ticket machine.
“We are delighted to be launching our mTicket range as part of our commitment to make the ticket purchasing process for passengers as easy as possible,” said First Capital Connect’s customer service director, Keith Jipps.
He added, “We have been quietly trialling this app over the past few months and it has proved so successful we are looking to expand mobile ticketing to other stations on our network.”
The app saves frequent journeys and securely stores payment information which means that users can make repeat purchases with just a few taps, removing the need to enter log-in details each time.
For station where the ticketing gates cannot yet read the Masabi codes, the app can send a smartphone user a unique number so that he or she can collect the ticket from a regular ticket machine at the station.
“It is particularly exciting for me to see First Capital Connect launching queue-busting mobile ticketing at London King’s Cross and Cambridge,” said Ben Whitaker, CEO of Masabi.
He continued, “This service will mean that passengers, for the first time, will be able to buy their tickets as they stroll to the station rather than having to queue for a ticket.”
“We look forward to extending this passenger liberating service to other First Capital Connect routes in the future.”
The system is being developed so that, in the future, all ticket types including carnets will be available as mTickets.
The one exception to this is season tickets for which there is a separate UK government initiative to make these available as smart cards.
To download the Rail Times app from FCC either visit your own app store directly or go to this page on the FCC site for instructions.
The app can be found on the Nokia store here but GoMo News isn’t sure whether it runs on Symbian and if so which versions of Symbian. Certainly doesn’t work on the Nokia N73.