Purchasing tickets for public transport conveniently by cell phone – this is the aim of a major project organized by the Association of German Transport Operators VDV. Working in cooperation with several transport operators and networks, Siemens IT Solutions and Services, the Fraunhofer Institute for Transport and Infrastructure Systems IVI and DVBLogPay have created a “HandyTicket” system. The project will be testing customer acceptance of the new system in eleven German cities and local transport regions over the next two years. Public transport users in these areas will be able to purchase single-journey and day tickets simply using their cell phones. What’s more, they will be able to buy tickets not only for their local region but also for all the other regions participating in the project. “This means that if you are traveling into another tariff area, you will be able to buy your day ticket conveniently at home,” says VDV President Günter Elste. The IVI played a leading role in the design of the overall concept: The research engineers developed a software system which integrates the various tariffs and all the different timetable information. “This component makes it possible to easily integrate completely different regional fare structures in the system,” explains Dr. Torsten Gründel, Head of the “Ticketing” Research Group at the IVI. “The collaboration between science, industry, and transport operators and networks has produced a cell-phone ticket solution that sets new standards, not least due to its nationwide availability.” Timetable information can also be obtained by cell phone, and in future it will be possible to purchase the right ticket for a connection straightaway – a useful function which is initially being tried out in Hamburg and Nuremberg. This is how the “HandyTicket” system works for the customer: The user logs on to one of the participating transport networks or operators via the Internet page www.dashandyticket.de and selects the desired payment method. After registration the customer can download a small Java program for use on cell phones by SMS. This enables tickets to be selected and purchased for all eleven tariff areas, and within seconds the system transfers the ticket to the cell phone. Some of the regions are also making their tickets available by SMS. During a ticket check the passenger simply shows the inspector the stored ticket on the display. The person’s identity card or cell phone number is all that is required to validate the ticket for an inspection.
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