Feeds

German railways merge NFC networks

We get Chiltern Railways and barcodes ...

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Frankfurt's regional travel authority is to merge its NFC infrastructure with the national rail operator, creating an interoperable network for travelling across Germany with a tap of the phone.

That's still some way off, but both Deutsche Bahn and Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (the national and local operators respectively) already have Near-Field-Communication-based payment systems – though neither is widely used. Making the networks interoperable should drive adoption, especially with the plethora of NFC-equipped handsets coming out over the next year or two.

At the moment the companies are just saying they'll upgrade, and integrate, Deutsche Bahn's Touch&Travel system which requires used to tap when joining or leaving the network, and Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund's HandyTicket system which provides ticketing and travel information to the handful of Germans equipped with NFC phones. Both have been used in trials over the last couple of years, but with NFC going mainstream there's incentive to ensure interoperability.

In the UK travellers don't need NFC - thetrainline.com will already sell you a ticket that exists as nothing more than an on-screen barcode for your phone. In the next month or two, Chiltern Railways will be deploying the same technology (provided by Masabi) which will remove the premium thetrainline.com charges for tickets, making it possible to buy a ticket for any train journey in the UK on your mobile phone.

This is if you accept that those tickets will take a little longer, and that Masabi's app will ask you to pick up a physical ticket once you get outside of Chiltern's area, at least initially, but that's indicative of the differing aims of the deployments.

The German announcement is about creating an interoperable network, making life easier for customers and speeding the process of checking the validity of tickets. The UK deployment is about closing ticket windows and getting rid of expensive ticketing machines; expect to see Chiltern's service heavily advertised in ticket office queues and at stations.

Masabi is hoping to create a national network based on barcodes, relying on the premise that once Chiltern Railways can sell you a ticket on your phone, the other operators will leap on board. The company is happy to migrate to NFC when that becomes commonplace, and the readers being fitted in stations will read NFC as well as bar-code-based tickets, but Masabi sees no advantage in NFC beyond the cool factor, though the Germans don't seem to agree. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
WRISTJOB LOVE BONANZA: justWatch sex app promises blind date hookups
Mankind shuffles into the future, five fingers at a time
Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen
Angry Microsoftie hauls auctioneers to court over stalled Pzkw. IV 'deal'
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
Apple's Mr Havisham: Tim Cook says dead Steve Jobs' office has remained untouched
'I literally think about him every day' says biz baron's old friend
Cops apologise for leaving EXPLOSIVES in suitcase at airport
'Canine training exercise' SNAFU sees woman take home booming baggage
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.