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Next Gen Leap Ticketing

  • 25-04-2019 1:46pm
    #1
    Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    NTA have news up that they have awarded the contract to implement the next gen Leap ticketing and have a splashy video about it here:

    https://www.transportforireland.ie/nta-appoint-contractor-for-mobile-ticketing-system/

    Sounds like they might start pilot testing it later this year.

    Sounds like they are moving Leap cards to an account based system where you can topup your leap account from your phone, without actually needing to touch the card to a reader to receive the topup. Looks like we won't really have the epurse on the card itself anymore, just your account id.

    They mention that you can topup your leap account by Apple pay, Paypal, etc.

    What I don't see mention of is if you can pay with any contactless debit or credit card, like you can with Oyster in London. They do show people using their phone to tag-on, but that might just be using NFC with the leap app on android phones.

    That would suck for iphone and apple watch users, as it wouldn't work for them and you'd still need the physical card. Unless they plan on bringing out a Leap debit card with Apple pay support, that might be one way around it!

    They also mention new ways to tag off, but don't go into detail. I wonder could they use the GPS on your phone along with the leap app to do the tag-off. That would be an interesting idea, specially for buses.

    Anyway, I'm delighted to hear they are finally making progress on this.


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Comments

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    Interestingly, the company who won the contract, Cubic Transportation Systems, developed the account based system for Oyster Cards in London and are doing the same in New York, so that sounds like good news, they sound like they have lots of experience.

    Oh and Marta card in Atlanta too, that is a nice system I've mentioned a few times before.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,737 ✭✭✭ Yer Da sells Avon


    I presume this means they'll finally have to replace the Wayfarer machines with post-1990s technology.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    I presume this means they'll finally have to replace the Wayfarer machines with post-1990s technology.

    Unfortunately I don't think it guarantees that, it looks like the system could work with the existing Wayfarer machines. But hopefully I'm wrong.

    BTW Interestingly I was just looking at how this works in London. You can topup via the app, but they still have the epurse on the oyster cards, you have to wait 30 minutes before you can pick up the topup on the buses. It will be interesting to see what they do here.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    BTW I'll mention something in case the folks develop this happen to read this thread.

    One idea I had, if they do allow for contactless cards like in London. If you could link your different contactless cards with the account, so all end up being included in the daily/weekly capping.

    In the London, you have to always use the same contactless card and method to benefit from the capping. But I don't see any reason why you couldn't link them all in the Leap account and balance them all at the end of the day.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Music Moderators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,315 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Dravokivich
    Category Moderator


    Haven't seen much on it yet myself. But I doubt it'll work on the same basis of a Leap Card, where the Leap Card needs to receive updates of it's details. I reckon your NFC device, whatever it is, be it registered phone or debit card, is just an identifier and the transaction reconciled later. Otherside, I'm not too sure how it's considered "Account based." For example... my debit card doesn't know how much is in my Current account. I'm only limited with the NFC usage, because I'm required to input a PIN after using it a number of times. Can't remember if that's 3 or 5. I don't believe a payment device needs to be actively online to charge me through that feature.


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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    Watching the video closely again, they do show a Bank Of Ireland Visa Debit Contactless card being used at a train gate like a Leap card. So that is a relief, it indicates they will support contactless cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.

    Also I agree Dravokivich, watching more closely, the video indicates that the epurse and tickets stored directly on the Leap card will be gone, instead your account ID just stored on the Leap card.

    I'd guess it will work something like this if using a Leap card (as opposed to Visa Contactless card):

    - Your present your leap card at the ticket machine on the bus, it reads your account number from your leap card. Your account number and ticket type and time are recorded on the ticket machine.
    Note the ticket machine might not actually know if you have enough credit, it just assumes you do. As long as your card isn't on the block list.
    - Later, either at the end of the day when the bus returns to the depot or over a 4G connection, the details of your use of the bus is uploaded to the cloud service.
    - At the end of the day, the system tallies how much you own in total, taking into account any daily capping, multi day tickets, etc.
    - If you don't have enough balance left on your account to pay, it will ask you to topup.
    - I guess if you dip into the €5 deposit amount, they might block your card and account from being used until you topup. They do this by sending a list of blocked or stolen cards to all buses. Once you topup, they remove you from this list.

    The advantage of all this are:

    - topups are instant and don't require you collecting the topup
    - The app can notify you when you account is running low.
    - You can topup immediately from iPhones, without the need for NFC
    - No need to have €40 locked in you account like you currently need with the current auto-topup system. Though they could still allow for auto-topups.

    Of course also allowing for the use of contactless debit and credit cards and phone and app payments will also be great.

    I can't wait.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭ coylemj
    Registered User


    If the Leap card was used simply as a link to your account, there's no reason why they couldn't let you link any contactless card to do the same thing so most people wouldn't need to carry a Leap card at all. You'd just tap your (e.g. VISA) contactless card and your Leap account would be docked the fare.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,907 ✭✭✭ Stephen15


    I hope in the future ticket barriers in IE stations are replaced with ones that can read QR codes similar to the ones in the airport along with Leap cards and contactless. That would allow you to buy train tickets online without the need to collect a physical ticket from the tvms similar to a boarding card for a plane.

    I noticed this on a train in Italy where there is generally no ticket barriers apart from in Metro stations that most passengers had an e-ticket on their phone instead of a physical ticket which is convenient.


  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 9,299 Mod ✭✭✭✭ CatInABox
    Moderator


    Just FYI, that video is from last year, when they first announced the project. Wouldn't read much into it, I'd say the marketing department had more say than the guy doing the project spec.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,304 ✭✭✭ nibtrix
    Registered User


    bk wrote: »
    BTW I'll mention something in case the folks develop this happen to read this thread.

    One idea I had, if they do allow for contactless cards like in London. If you could link your different contactless cards with the account, so all end up being included in the daily/weekly capping.

    In the London, you have to always use the same contactless card and method to benefit from the capping. But I don't see any reason why you couldn't link them all in the Leap account and balance them all at the end of the day.


    Couldn't unscrupulous people then hand one of their cards to someone else and essentially get two people for the price of one? I'm sure they could block it so that two journeys couldn't be happening at the same time, but if you have a partner or friend that you know will be travelling at a different time on the same day/week then that could work. There will always be some who take advantage of loopholes!


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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 61,810 Mod ✭✭✭✭ L1011
    Moderator


    At some point someone will use the wrong card at the wrong time and they'll be blocked - nobody is ever good enough to keep something like that up for really very little gain


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,304 ✭✭✭ nibtrix
    Registered User


    True, but why leave the option open just to make it slightly more convenient for people?


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    nibtrix wrote: »
    Couldn't unscrupulous people then hand one of their cards to someone else and essentially get two people for the price of one? I'm sure they could block it so that two journeys couldn't be happening at the same time, but if you have a partner or friend that you know will be travelling at a different time on the same day/week then that could work. There will always be some who take advantage of loopholes!

    Ah, good point.

    Though it would be easy enough to program the backend accounting system to notice two different cards being used on the same journey. Then they could just treat one as a normal full ticket and only include one of them in the daily cap.

    Actually it could even be seen as a feature. I'm always having to ask the driver for two tickets as my better half often forgets her Leap card or has no money on it. It would be handy if I could just hand her one of my other cards and we both quickly tag on at the right hand validator, without need to bother the driver and have the leap backend do the right thing.
    L1011 wrote: »
    At some point someone will use the wrong card at the wrong time and they'll be blocked - nobody is ever good enough to keep something like that up for really very little gain

    I don't understand what you mean?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,222 ✭✭✭ StreetLight
    Registered User


    Dublin Bus will be introducing new ticketing equipment during Q1 of 2020. Drivers will be trained in on the new facilities towards the end of this year.


  • Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭ ax586
    Registered User


    Dublin Bus will be introducing new ticketing equipment during Q1 of 2020. Drivers will be trained in on the new facilities towards the end of this year.

    That's gas Go-Ahead was meant to get a new ticketing system in at the start but the NTA backed out.and the excuse was that the would be backlash from the union in DB if it was introduced on GAI fleet first mad I tell ya


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Music Moderators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,315 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Dravokivich
    Category Moderator


    coylemj wrote: »
    If the Leap card was used simply as a link to your account, there's no reason why they couldn't let you link any contactless card to do the same thing so most people wouldn't need to carry a Leap card at all. You'd just tap your (e.g. VISA) contactless card and your Leap account would be docked the fare.

    That's essentially how leap card works for go car and Dublin bikes. So I'm wondering if current cards may be retrospectively configured for the account based service.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Music Moderators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,315 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Dravokivich
    Category Moderator


    nibtrix wrote: »
    Couldn't unscrupulous people then hand one of their cards to someone else and essentially get two people for the price of one? I'm sure they could block it so that two journeys couldn't be happening at the same time, but if you have a partner or friend that you know will be travelling at a different time on the same day/week then that could work. There will always be some who take advantage of loopholes!

    Can easily be covered off by the users device knowing what it's done. As it is now, collecting online topup is actually an offline action, but your leap card will only collect it once, becuase it'll know if it's done it already.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,304 ✭✭✭ nibtrix
    Registered User


    Can easily be covered off by the users device knowing what it's done. As it is now, collecting online topup is actually an offline action, but your leap card will only collect it once, becuase it'll know if it's done it already.

    I wasn't talking about top-ups, but about the suggestion that multiple cards/methods of payment (say a leap card and a debit card) would both contribute to the daily or weekly cap. Presumably this suggestion was to cover situations where someone would forget their leap card and use their debit card instead or some such.

    If use of both cards was counted under the same cap, two people could use the two cards and reach the capped amount sooner, thereby paying less money and essentially cheating the system. I was saying that possibility might be a reason why the system isn't set up the way suggested.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,142 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble
    Registered User


    coylemj wrote: »
    ...most people wouldn't need to carry a Leap card at all. You'd just tap your (e.g. VISA) contactless card and your Leap account would be docked the fare.

    You underestimate how many Leap users are children, tourists, people who don't have bank accounts.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,806 ✭✭✭ goingnowhere
    Registered User


    Once again we go for complexity instead of simplicity,

    The Germans seem to do fine with paper tickets and you can have an app on your phone to buy tickets and simply flash the phone and the bar code if inspected. Same thing with the Austrians and Swiss.

    Ultra reliable, simple. You can pay on credit, debit card or even direct debit

    One of the good elements of Leap is if the entire back end crashes, you can still travel, with account based ticket everyone is stranded


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,883 ✭✭✭ markpb
    Registered User


    One of the good elements of Leap is if the entire back end crashes, you can still travel, with account based ticket everyone is stranded

    Account based ticketing is such a vague, nebulous term that it’s impossible to say what it’s capable of and how it might act. EMV contactless cards are perfectly capable of operating entirely online. Treating Leap cards as account based tickets could do the same. There’s no reason to believe they’ll ever operate in fully online mode, it’s far too unreliable, especially on buses.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    The Germans seem to do fine with paper tickets and you can have an app on your phone to buy tickets and simply flash the phone and the bar code if inspected. Same thing with the Austrians and Swiss.

    I agree we should have implemented the German/Polish style paper ticket validators decades ago, along with multidoor bus operation.

    However it is worth noting that most German/Polish cities are now also moving to smart cards, rather then paper tickets. See fahrCard in Berlin or the Smart cards in Warsaw, Gdansk, Krakow, etc.
    One of the good elements of Leap is if the entire back end crashes, you can still travel, with account based ticket everyone is stranded

    That isn't going to change with this.
    markpb wrote: »
    Account based ticketing is such a vague, nebulous term that it’s impossible to say what it’s capable of and how it might act. EMV contactless cards are perfectly capable of operating entirely online. Treating Leap cards as account based tickets could do the same. There’s no reason to believe they’ll ever operate in fully online mode, it’s far too unreliable, especially on buses.

    I'd agree, 4G coverage and speed is still far too unreliable for realtime verification of accounts on buses *

    Instead I suspect the ticket machine will simply read your card, get your Leap account number, check that it isn't blocked against the block list store on the ticket machine and if not then record the details of the trip in the ticket machine. Once the ticket machine does have a 4G connection, perhaps a few minutes later, it will then upload the details to their cloud service.

    One change I'd expect, is that it will all happen much faster, that the buses won't wait until they get back to the depot to upload the data. Instead they will communicate every few minutes when 4G connection is available. This way the ticket machines can get the block list much faster if someone's credit goes to zero.

    This should all continue to work even if the backend servers go down. The ticket machines would just take longer to upload the data.

    * DART and Luas validators could work in realtime if they are fiber connected. Though if the backend goes down, they could just buffer the ticket until they gain a connection.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    Dublin Bus will be introducing new ticketing equipment during Q1 of 2020. Drivers will be trained in on the new facilities towards the end of this year.

    Brilliant so in the next year we may finally get new ticket machines, account based leap and cotactless payments, maybe the 90 minute flat fare. Maybe even some 24/7 routes.

    Sounds like we might finally be fixing some of the more issues with buses here and get a proper modern bus service :)

    Any rumours on what the ticket machine might be?


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Music Moderators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,315 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Dravokivich
    Category Moderator


    bk wrote: »
    I agree we should have implemented the German/Polish style paper ticket validators decades ago, along with multidoor bus operation.

    However it is worth noting that most German/Polish cities are now also moving to smart cards, rather then paper tickets. See fahrCard in Berlin or the Smart cards in Warsaw, Gdansk, Krakow, etc.



    That isn't going to change with this.



    I'd agree, 4G coverage and speed is still far too unreliable for realtime verification of accounts on buses *

    Instead I suspect the ticket machine will simply read your card, get your Leap account number, check that it isn't blocked against the block list store on the ticket machine and if not then record the details of the trip in the ticket machine. Once the ticket machine does have a 4G connection, perhaps a few minutes later, it will then upload the details to their cloud service.

    One change I'd expect, is that it will all happen much faster, that the buses won't wait until they get back to the depot to upload the data. Instead they will communicate every few minutes when 4G connection is available. This way the ticket machines can get the block list much faster if someone's credit goes to zero.

    This should all continue to work even if the backend servers go down. The ticket machines would just take longer to upload the data.

    * DART and Luas validators could work in realtime if they are fiber connected. Though if the backend goes down, they could just buffer the ticket until they gain a connection.

    All this wish list of items, is down to how the operator manages the distribution of their transactions. There's no point on relying on intermittent connectivity. It's much better to do so, during a time when there is no interference otherwise it reduces data integrity. It's even an issue with the Leap NFC app now, if the card slips down the back of your phone, you can still purchase a top-up, but your card won't get it, because the phone doesn't know it's moved away from the chip. A lot of them I expect already do pull transactions from devices internally during the day (Payzone, Luas, Irish Rail). But it amounts to a large number of transactions and over night, with minimal production time interference may still be a preferable period to reconcile reliably.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    Interestingly I was just reading that it looks like Apple have been opening up the nfc on iPhones and Apple Watch to more uses then just Apple Pay.

    In Japan and China, you can now add your travel pass (like Leap card) to Apple Wallet and use that on your phone directly.

    They have also added support for student ID cards and store membership type cards.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    All this wish list of items, is down to how the operator manages the distribution of their transactions. There's no point on relying on intermittent connectivity. It's much better to do so, during a time when there is no interference otherwise it reduces data integrity. It's even an issue with the Leap NFC app now, if the card slips down the back of your phone, you can still purchase a top-up, but your card won't get it, because the phone doesn't know it's moved away from the chip. A lot of them I expect already do pull transactions from devices internally during the day (Payzone, Luas, Irish Rail). But it amounts to a large number of transactions and over night, with minimal production time interference may still be a preferable period to reconcile reliably.

    Data integrity is really easy to handle, that is very much a solved problem. This definitely isn't rocket science.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Music Moderators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,315 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Dravokivich
    Category Moderator


    bk wrote: »
    Data integrity is really easy to handle, that is very much a solved problem. This definitely isn't rocket science.

    You never saw missing transactions on your leap card history then?


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    You never saw missing transactions on your leap card history then?

    No I haven't. The issue you mention with a NFC topup not being applied is down to the epurse approach and NFC. Though having said that, if you touch the leap card back on the app, does it not apply the topup then? Very bad design if it doesn't, would be easy to handle that.

    With an account based system, it actually gets simpler and more robust. It would work something like this:

    - You tag on, the ticket machine records the transaction and gives it a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) and perhaps creates a hash of the data.
    - When the ticket machine has a connection, it uploads the data to the servers, probably an asynchronous messaging queue system.
    - The backend system gets the data, checks that it is intact with the hash and does what it needs to do. It then informs the ticket machine that it is done.
    - If something fails, the ticket machine can just send the same transactions again. Duplicates are identified and discarded by the backend based on the GUID.

    This is pretty much how all financial IT systems work, stock trading, etc. It is a pretty solved problem.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,516 ✭✭✭✭ loyatemu
    Registered User


    You underestimate how many Leap users are children, tourists, people who don't have bank accounts.

    the 2 options are not exclusive, people without debit cards could continue to use the dedicated Leap card.


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  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,079 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk
    Moderator


    loyatemu wrote: »
    the 2 options are not exclusive, people without debit cards could continue to use the dedicated Leap card.

    Of course, though I normally travel with at least two contactless cards, a debit and credit card. It would be very handy to just hand one of those to a friend or family member to use when needed. Much handier with having to mess around with getting extra leap cards.

    I don't see any reason why you wouldn't allow it.

    But I do agree the daily and weekly capping will unfortunately need to apply per card/device used. I can't think of a way around that, it would be open to fraud otherwise.


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