For many passengers, even during the boom of our digital age, paper tickets are still issued more than e-tickets or contactless payment methods. Germany are determined to lead the way for smart ticketing by becoming the first nation to provide a nationwide e-ticket. By 2019, it is planned that the German transport ministry will phase paper tickets out for good. By contrast, the new e-ticket will connect all public services including bus and tram across the country's cities. This means that passengers will only need one card to make a transaction on any national service. Ten million people in Germany are already using smart tickets in their individual cities, but the German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt believes this should be extended by 2019. Whilst 239 out of 402 transport districts accept chip cards, the new nationwide ticket is expected to unify all of Germany’s public services.
According to a plan seen by publishing group Funke Mediengruppe and reported last Friday on Waz, the Transport Ministry wants to introduce a uniform e-ticket that would connect public transit systems across nearly all of the country under one card. A national e-ticket has the power to offer more convenience and flexibility for customers and create seamless connections. This is also intended to benefit the operational side of things by reducing ticket queues and crowding at ticket machines. If an e-ticket is lost or stolen, it can be easily cancelled or replaced unlike the paper alternatives. This will allow customers the opportunity to choose and purchase new tickets with more flexible travel options. From an operator’s perspective, there would be lower maintenance costs compared to systems using magnetic tickets.
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The e-ticket was suggested to make public transport an easy and more attractive option for 75% of the population who regularly rely on these services. “We need a Germany-wide, mobile platform that links passengers’ information across regions and makes it possible to book e-tickets,” Dobrindt told Funke Mediengruppe. The upgraded ticketing service will be one project out of twelve to modernise Germany’s services with an expected cost of €16 million both this year and continuing into 2018.
Transport for London was the first public transport provider in the world to accept contactless payment cards. The contactless payment system was first launched on London's buses in December 2012 and expanded to cover Tube and rail services in London in September 2014. Since then, more than 500 million journeys have been made by more than 12 million unique credit and debit cards from 90 different countries, as well as using contactless-enabled mobile devices. Around one in 10 contactless transactions in the UK are made on TfL's network, making it one of the largest contactless merchants worldwide.
Even though the technology to make this possible has already been available for years before this deadline, it is important for the government to have a central database to collate a range of information about prices and how to transfer a customer’s revenue if they were to travel from region to region.
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