Special Guest Blog by Steve Wakeland, CEO, ITSO

ITSO Transit Hub Ltd (ITHL) is bringing ITSO, the UK’s trusted national smartcard, to NFC-enabled mobile phones for the first time. Powered by NFC technology and Google Pay, “ITSO on Mobile” provides a universal solution that lets passengers purchase, fulfill and use an ITSO-compatible ticket on their mobile phones. People want to buy travel in the same way that they buy other goods and services and working with Google Pay has enabled us to do just that.

Integrating with transport retail mobile applications and websites, ITSO on Mobile securely delivers purchased tickets, within seconds, directly to the Google Pay digital wallet on the phone. The secure ticket is delivered over the air by ITSO Transit Hub’s cloud-based ticket fulfilment service, which is integrated with the operator’s back office system and with Google Pay. The ticket on the handset emulates a standard ITSO smartcard and is instantly recognized by ticket validator machines or gates. The NFC-enabled smartphone serves as both ticket machine and ticket to provide a modern, end-to-end mobile ticketing solution.

Like all existing ITSO smartcard solutions, this mobile technology will provide a strong security management system, ensuring the safety of transaction data. It combines Google Pay functionality with the security, flexibility and scalability of ITSO products and has been designed with our ITSO members in mind, meaning that it is compatible with all current ITSO smartcard infrastructure and is designed to ensure sustainable ongoing operational costs.

As ITSO on Mobile is deployed by other transport operators, the true interoperability of the ITSO standard will be realized, allowing mobile-based smart tickets to support journeys across multiple operators and transport modes.

Transportation and mobile services

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), has rolled out ITSO on Mobile, initially on the West Midlands Metro tram network as a pilot for up to 500 users, prior to a wider rollout to include buses and trains. This initial rollout has been made possible by funding from Midlands Connect, the pan-regional transport partnership, as part of its smart ticketing program.

ITSO on Mobile will make ticketing a quicker, easier and more seamless daily process for the travelling public.

Steve Wakeland is CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of ITSO Ltd., a non-profit distributing membership organization which aims to make travelling on public transport throughout the UK seamless and easy by enabling smart ticketing technology.  In his role as CEO, Steve focuses on corporate direction and strategy, ensuring that the ITSO standard stays relevant and in line with future-based technologies. More recently, Steve has been instrumental in leading the development of ITSO’s mobile ticketing solution.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author.

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