COVID-19 Driven Innovation in Public Transport


With the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Turkey introduced a personal code called “HES code” to monitor the COVID-19 risk status. Its purpose is to track and distinguish individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 (or have been in close contact with such) in real-time and isolate them from interactions to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control.

Since millions of people, and especially healthcare workers, depend on public transportation, back then it was almost impossible to stop or slow down transit service even under pandemic conditions.

Our mission was to provide a swift and seamless integration of the HES code with the fare collection system for transit agencies of Turkey; so that we could check and deny risky passengers the use of public transport without the need for any inspectors. In doing so, our system had to be precise in order not to discourage people from using public transport.

At kentkart, we develop automated fare collection technologies used in public transportation. These technologies include the Account-Based Ticketing (ABT) system. Thanks to ABT, we are able to correspond HES codes issued by the Ministry of Health with individuals’ transport and bank cards. When a passenger taps his/her card, its unique number is queried against the servers of the Ministry in real time. If the Health Ministry’s response indicates that the individual has tested positive for COVID-19 (or has been in close contact with such person), the system denies him/her the use of public transport.

Thanks to our integration, which enabled us to develop a centralized verification infrastructure, thousands of travel attempts were denied because the cardholders were either COVID-positive or had been in close contact. This has helped public transportation vehicles (buses, metro, trams, etc.) to become much healthier and safer environments. People once again started to prefer public transportation in their travels and the revenue losses of local administrations and operators have drastically decreased.

Stay Healthy and Have Smart Trips!

Click for more information about kentkart’s Automated Fare Collection Solutions.