Captivating Mobile Payments Trial Reveals “High Transit and Retail Usage”

It sounded like a reality show plot.

In early 2008, a group of San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) riders participated in a never-before attempted trial to pay for their fares and food, receive discounts and check account balances using just their new mobile phone containing a contactless chip that enables transactions without a traditional plastic card.

Forger Survivor, I want to watch that show!

This week, BART, First Data, and ViVOtech finally revealed the results of the trial conducted in the San Francisco area from Jan. 28 to May 30, 2008. The much anticipated results demonstrated “high use when both transit fare and retail payments are combined in the same phone.”

According to the purveyors of the test, the outcome shows that BART riders who took part in the trial extensively used their contactless, Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled phones to pay for their BART fares and meals at participating Jack in the Box restaurants.

The results also show that participants at BART stations frequently tapped smart advertisements in BART stations with their NFC phones. These posters contained directions to nearby Jack in the Box restaurants. The data indicates that trial participants took close to 9,000 trips on BART during the trial.

“We’re very excited that our trial was so successful,” said BART’s longest serving board member, James Fang. “NFC devices are all the rage in Asia, and if all goes well, millions of Americans will have access to these NFC-enabled phones starting in two years.”