Just a wave will do for Auckland bus smartcards

Auckland bus users will soon be using proximity radio frequency (RF) cards to pay their bus fares. Bob Williamson, managing director of Electronic Ticketing Systems, says RF cards allow travellers to wave their card, even within their wallet, past a reader which subtracts the cost of the trip from the stored value on the card.

Auckland bus users will soon be using proximity radio frequency (RF) cards to pay their bus fares.

Bob Williamson, managing director of Electronic Ticketing Systems, says RF cards allow travellers to wave their card, even within their wallet, past a reader which subtracts the cost of the trip from the stored value on the card.

Urban Express buses already offer the service, while Howick and Eastern and Hanham (North Shore) bus companies will begin using the technology within the next few months, says Williamson, speaking at the New Zealand Retail Solutions exhibition last week. In the longer term, he can see further applications of the cards. Instead of each bus service issuing cards, one multi-card could be used by travellers, with the profits split according to which bus they catch. Meanwhile, different cards for different buses won’t clash — anti-collision software means a reader can identify its own card from within a walletful of RF cards.

Also at the exhibition, Auckland-based SmartMove was demonstrating its smart-card readers. The company produces UCI (universal card interface) readers which SmartMove’s Grant Black says can read any magstripe or smartcard that conforms to the ISO 7816 standard. The New Zealand company was bought by US machine coin-slot manufacturer Coin Accepters last year and Black says this has given SmartMove access to some of the largest vending machine companies worldwide.

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