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Bringing security to contactless ticketing in Iceland

Straeto Head of IT, Dadi Aslaugarson, gives us the lowdown on the collaboration with Fidesmo and how their contactless solution is used as a part of the new generation of public transport ticketing in Reykjavik.

Dadi, why did Straeto update the public transport ticketing system?

Until recently, public transport in Reykjavik relied on early-generation ticketing systems, with a basic app, travel cards and paper tickets – which were relatively easy to counterfeit or falsify payment with. Having made small-scale updates over the years, we decided to launch a new generation of contactless, account-based ticketing.


What did this involve?

It’s been an enormous update to our backend and frontend systems with, among other things, the launch of a new app, smart travel cards, and QR code-based paper tickets – to cater for those who still wish to continue paying this way. The ticketing system, which was designed and developed by Fara, is a modern, open ticketing platform that supports the integration of multiple service partners including Fidesmo.


What services do Fidesmo provide?

At the moment, Fidesmo provides secure contactless travel cards that can be used for different age groups, time periods, number of journeys, etc. We only have one zone in Reykjavik so we don’t have to worry about zone-based cards. The easy to top-up, tap-and-travel cards are convenient for passengers, easy for our bus drivers to recognize, and much more secure than the previous generation as they cannot be counterfeited. Each card has a unique token stored in the secure element, which is registered on every journey.


What are the opportunities of using these cards?

There are opportunities on multiple levels. With smart contactless cards, we can provide traveller-specific benefits. For instance, we can offer a free ride if a card is tapped four days in a row or free travel for the rest of the day if a card is used three times in one day. It’s up to us to define the incentives for travellers, and we can easily roll it out within the ticketing system.

Taking another approach, we can offer travel passes on Fidesmo-ready wearables, such as a ring, keyring or bracelet. The unique token is stored in the wearable in the same way as it is in the card, which would allow passengers to tap a wearable when travelling on a bus to register their journey. When we implement open-loop, travellers will be able to pay with a payment card or a wearable connected to their payment card. This is a big benefit for tourists who don’t want to purchase tickets or travel cards, or download an app every time they visit a different city.

We’re also in discussions with Samsung about mobile ticketing and payments based on the solution developed by Samsung and Fidesmo.


What has been the response to the new ticketing system?

It’s gone as smoothly as can be expected. When you launch a new system for over a hundred thousand people, there are grumblings because routines have to be changed. But there are significant benefits, which consumers will appreciate once they get accustomed to it. On the other hand, we recently received a Transport Ticketing Global Award within the Best Smart Ticketing Program category with special recognition for the giant step we made into modern ticketing.


Finally, what would you say to public transport companies about Fidesmo?

We chose to work with Fidesmo because they wanted to innovate and ensure we, and our customers, got the best solutions for now, but with opportunities to add more services when the timing was right. Fidesmo are proactive and easy to deal with, and that’s what you want in today’s fast-moving, user-centric digital world.



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