Rio Latest City to Get NFC Transit Pilot (Oct. 21, 2013)
The global push toward NFC-based transit payments continues—this time in Rio de Janeiro, the site of a new pilot program enabling transit riders to tap mobile smartphones to pay on trains, buses and ferries. The companies behind the program include RioCard Tecnologia da Informação, digital security provider Gemalto, Motorola Mobility and Brazil’s four largest mobile operators.
The pilot is the first mobile-centered NFC transit payment program in Brazil, according to Gemalto. But Rio de Janeiro’s commuters have been tapping to pay since 2003, when the RioCard contactless transit cards debuted for the city’s transit system. Two hundred commuters are participating in the test, which is set to run until December. The program is using exclusively Motorola’s RAZR D3 NFC-enabled smartphone, which can be placed near RioCard readers to pay fares. The phones are being equipped with Gemalto’s UpTeq NFC SIM card, which was the first NFC SIM to earn official approval from American Express, MasterCard and Visa.
“Transportation is emerging as one of the major applications for NFC technology, and our UpTeq multi-tenant NFC SIM card is fully scalable to host an extensive range of services now and in the future,” said Damien Bullot, telecom director for Gemalto in Brazil.
NFC-based transit payment pilots have been springing up across the globe recently. In September, the Chicago Transit Authority debuted its Ventra payment system on the city’s subway and bus system. The same month, Hong Kong transit payment provider Octopus Group said it was planning to enable NFC smartphone payments by the fourth quarter of this year. Contactless mass transit payment initiatives also are underway in Beijing, Salt Lake City and Singapore, among other cities around the world.