Enabling Concessionary Fares For Open-loop EMV Cards

Open-loop EMV card acceptance in public transport

For many years ticketing with contactless debit and credit cards was limited only to the flat fare (or adult fare). In other words, bank cards and concession fares did not exist in the same universe. As a result, passengers with special discount rights (like students, seniors, or the disabled) had to issue separate transportation cards. So these travelers had to stick to the old-fashioned closed-loop technology and were dependent on local ticket sales, cash handling, and top-up infrastructure.

But those days are gone because our fare collection system powered by ABT now enables all kinds of concessionary fares for contactless open-loop EMV cards! That saves not only time but also money required for issuing transport cards.

Continue reading to learn how we have accomplished this one-of-a-kind innovation.

How Kentkart enabled Concessionary Fares For Open-loop EMV Cards in Gaziantep

Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality, where Kentkart has been the automated fare collection system provider since 2017, expressed the need to enable payment with credit and debit cards for citizens who have concession rights. Working together with them, we decided to address this issue and undertake a project that was unprecedented at that time (and it still remains one-of-a-kind even to this day!). We called it theevery card is Gaziantepkartproject.

The technology that powered the innovation

Kentkart’s fare collection system is powered by Account-based Ticketing (ABT). Thanks to that, all tariff calculations and payment processing can be performed online.  

The project aimed to turn passengers’ debit and credit cards into concessionary cards. We developed an interface where citizens need to submit their personal ID information alongside their debit or credit card number. Our system then connects to the municipality’s databases and controls if there is a concession right for each person, and if so, entitles their EMV open-loop cards to concessionary fares. 

While implementing this project, no changes were made to the devices. It only required developing new software which took only two months to implement. Today, students, seniors, or disabled citizens who want to use their contactless debit or credit cards in public transport can finally enjoy their concessions. 

What are the benefits for passengers?

  1. Passengers do not have to visit the card center to issue concessionary cards (time-saving).   
  2. Travelers do not have to spend their money on buying concessionary cards (money-saving).  
  3. Passengers no longer have to top up their card balances in advance because now, they can simply use their debit or credit cards.  
  4. Travelers are no longer dependent on top-up infrastructure.   
  5. If they have transport cards already issued, they can continue using them.

What are the benefits for the municipality?

  1. The printing, personnel, and other material costs to issue cards are no longer necessary.   
  2. Prior to the project, the municipality relied on card issue centers to a great extent; now, with our online applications, they plan to drastically decrease the card issue infrastructure and eliminate its costs.   
  3. Passenger satisfaction and experience have improved.   
  4. The use of plastic and chips has decreased since no new cards need to be produced. This, besides contributing to the preservation of our planet, also lessens the severity of the chip crisis.   
  5. The ticketing process has become more sustainable because passengers are now encouraged to use existing resources (debit or credit cards) instead of issuing new ones.   
  6. In just under three months, the smart card production in the city has decreased by 5000 cards. 

Our solution enabled passengers to enjoy concessionary fares even when paying with contactless debit and credit cards. During the first three pilot months of the project, 5,000 passengers submitted their debit or credit cards to this system. With 500,000 passengers who have concessionary rights in total and approximately 100,000 concessionary cards printed in Gaziantep city each year, the municipality now encourages the use of this technology. We expect that the need for plastic transportation cards will drastically decrease and will be replaced by open-loop cards in the near future. This will create a seamless passenger experience and also reduce carbon emissions by promoting the use of public transport.