Ticket in a mobile promotion on KM website
(Click image to link to more information about KM’s new mobile ticketing facility.)
From 27 September, Koleje Mazowieckie passengers can purchase a range of tickets through their mobile phones. The new facility means that passengers will not have to queue up to purchase tickets and KM will not have to maintain expensive ticket offices at locations where the economics do not justify it.
The new facility is not quite ‘wash and go’, but the elements that we have been able to test seem to work quite well.
The simplest mobile payment systems work on the principle of premium SMSs. Say you want to park your car in a mobile-payment enabled car park. You send an SMS with the registration number of your car and the length of time that you wish to park to the car park operator. The car park operator’s billing system tells your mobile operator how much to charge you. (There are simpler variations on this theme!) The mobile operator adds the cost of your premium SMS to your monthly phone bill and shares the revenue with the car park operator.
The problem in implementing such mobile payment systems in Poland is that Polish mobile operators want to keep a very high proportion of the transaction revenue. This may not be so much of a problem when premium SMSs are used to vote by hundreds of thousands in TV talent contests, but a serious barrier for implementing mobile e-ticketing systems.
The KM system works differently: instead of relying on premium SMSs, it works on the principle of ‘an electronic purse’ operated by Mennica Polska S.A. in association with SkyCash. The intending ticket purchaser downloads a simple application into his smart phone and then completes a registration routine. When tested by us on an iPhone, this worked reasonably well, apart from a couple of bad screen prompts which necessitated a spot of creative guesswork.
Once the registration is complete the ticket purchaser is allocated a personal bank account which must be topped up with credit before any tickets can be purchased. As electronic bank transfers can take up to three working days, the system does not lend itself for once in a while ‘on impulse’ journeys. But for regular KM travellers like W-wa Jeziorki publisher, Michael Dembinski, the new system should prove a boon.
We look forward to hearing user reports from KM passengers and testing the system ourselves shortly.