How is the smart card pilot at MTA New York City Transit different from other approaches?
Perhaps the most notable difference is that the pilot is taking a smart card business and technical solution from one industry, banking, and testing whether it can somehow work in another, transit. Not just in public transit, but in most travel businesses, the practice has been to issue some form of ticket or fare media. While this is still prevalent, there is the possibility of using an account-based instrument as both a means of payment and a credential. Just think of what airlines do with e-tickets. Another difference is the approach to the technology. As fare payment systems have evolved in public transit to date, most tickets issued by transit agencies center on a read/write technology approach. That is, a host of information is written to each piece of fare media when it is purchased and each time it is used to pay fare. By contrast, banks’ cards are only read at the point of sale. The reading of the card stimulates a back office process of authorization and payment. Of course, t