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Chip powers 'first' RFID-based ticketing scheme

Posted: 10 Jul 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RFID? transportation scheme Seoul? memory chip contactless?

SRT512 contactless memory chip

The world's first RFID-based scheme for single-journey reusable ticketing in mass transportation has gone live in Seoul, South Korea, and is expected to save some 3 billion Won (over $2.4 million) per year using a solution based on STMicroelectronics' SRT512 contactless memory chip.

Serving a city of 10 million people and operating since 1974, the Seoul Subway became a part of the Seoul Metropolitan Government's New Transportation System combining subway and bus networks in July 2004. The New Transportation system introduced a refillable traffic-card system called T-Money, alongside conventional paper tickets for cash-paying passengers. Now, to save the cost of provisioning more than 450 million printed paper tickets every year, estimated at 6.8 Won each, the Seoul Subway is replacing its paper tickets with RFID smart cards called Single Journey Tickets.

In the new system, automated vending machines issue the Single Journey Ticket in exchange for each passenger's payment plus a 500 Won deposit for the ticket. Each ticket contains ST's SRT512 contactless memory chip, which has features that allow the cards to be returned and re-issued to new passengers. This recycling of the tickets will save the cost and environmental impact of generating hundreds of millions of disposable paper tickets.

ST has worked with card issuer Korea Smart Card Co. Ltd (KSCC), which operates the New Transportation System for the Seoul Metropolitan Government, to optimize the SRT512 to support the subway's ticketing system.

"Support provided by ST has been invaluable in ensuring timely introduction of the Single Journey Ticket, particularly in providing standards-compliant products, technical expertise and stability of supply," said Kevin Moon, CFO at KSCC. "The system is secure and robust, and will reduce operating costs by eliminating paper tickets and saving staff time."

The SRT512 is specifically designed for short-range applications meeting ISO 14443-B that need re-usable tokens such as access-control, event-ticketing and mass-transport ticketing applications. To operate effectively in these applications, the device features a built-in anti-collision mechanism to prevent conflicts with other nearby cards. On-chip computation, including dual counters and anti-tear properties, enable a secure and physically robust solution.

ST has also previously collaborated with KSCC in the introduction of the T-Money pre-paid transport card. Accepted in buses, subway and taxis, these cards can also be used as an e-purse enabling low-value payments in shops in Seoul. The T-Money prepaid card is based on ST's ST19WR contactless smartcards and has been deployed in large volume for the past two years.

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