Apple’s recent announcement that the next iPhone will be able to make purchases brings us one step closer using phones to board the CTA bus or push through a turnstile.
The CTA has already issued an RFP for its so-called “open fare collection system.” in the graphic it used in a board presentation about it, the CTA included a phone as an example of a payment device, along with credit cards.
Built-in “Near Field Communication” (NFC) is the key to enabling your
phone to be a payment device. The phone would support over-the-air
updates, such as topping up credit, according to the Mass Transit blog. More from the blog:
“Waving your phone near an NFC terminal, at a railway station turnstile
for example, will initiate an authentication process with a back-office
server that identifies you via the phone’s unique I.”
An NFC phone was successfully piloted on San Francisco’s BART in 2008: “The customers could automatically top up transit value over the air once
the user’s balance dropped below $10. Participants reportedly got
nearly $50 in value for free rides when they started the trial. Users
could also tap smart posters at transit stations to download special
offers and get directions to the nearest Jack in the Box.”
And there’s another revenue opportunity for the CTA! Partnering with merchants like Jack in the Box.