(Hanover, March 16, 2007) Climb on board and off you go! Some day, passengers will be able to board a train or bus without first purchasing a paper ticket from a dispenser or the driver. Instead, they will simply need to push a button on their mobile phone once prior to departure and then again when they reach their destination.
Deutsche Bahn and Vodafone, in conjunction with other high-tech heavyweights, are working together on the development of an innovative electronic ticketing system dubbed ?Touch&Travel? that is expected to be market-ready within the next few years. ?We are looking to win more customers. That?s why we need to make it as easy as possible for them to take advantage of our offering," said Dr. Karl-Friedrich Rausch, director of passenger services at Deutsche Bahn AG, during an announcement of the system. ?With Touch&Travel, we are creating a customer-friendly solution that can be used for long-distance, regional, and local transportation."
Touch&Travel is scheduled to undergo preliminary field testing this year on the high-speed track between Berlin and Hanover, in a section of the Berlin metropolitan railway (S-Bahn), and throughout the Potsdam city transit network. After successful completion of the tests, plans are for nationwide rollout to follow.
?As a leading telecommunications company, we are constantly looking for easier and more flexible ways for customers to use their mobile phones,? said Friedrich Joussen, chairman of the board at Vodafone Germany. ?Touch&Travel is an innovative solution that simplifies train travel for customers and offers significant potential for additional applications.?
The e-ticketing system being developed by Deutsche Bahn and Vodafone makes use of a new mobile communication technology that will be introduced on the market in the near future. Known as Near Field Communication (NFC), it enables contactless data transmission across ranges of just a few centimeters. Forthcoming generations of mobile handsets will come equipped with the technology as a standard feature.
With the introduction of Touch&Travel, special terminals referred to as ?touchpoints? will be installed on all train platforms and at all bus stops. At these terminals, a passenger logs on to the system by pressing a button on his cell phone and logs off once he has reached his destination. The distance traveled and the price of the ticket are calculated, and the registered passenger receives a monthly bill.