Snowball Technology Enables Transit Cards on iPhone and Apple Watch in Six Major Chinese Cities

Snowball Technology Enables Transit Cards on iPhone and Apple Watch in Six Major Chinese Cities

Snowball Technology Enables Transit Cards on iPhone and Apple Watch in Six Major Chinese Cities

Posted by Shannon Amy Murphy

April 29, 2021

SHANGHAI

Mobile Ticketing with Apple Wallet

Snowball Technology has launched NFC-based mobile ticketing with Apple Wallet, allowing passengers in Suzhou, Xiamen, Tianjin, Changsha, Shijiazhuang and Xi’an to access public transport with just a tap of their iPhone or Apple Watch. The rollout was successfully executed in each of the aforementioned Chinese cities over a period of just three months.

Snowball’s platform, OnBoard™, allows passengers to easily add transit cards to Apple Wallet. Passengers can also add transit cards to Apple Wallet from public transit agency mobile apps.

A spokesperson at Xiamen E-Card said, “We are now able to offer our passengers NFC ticketing for iOS.”

Underscoring the benefits of NFC over QR, the Xiamen E-Card spokesperson added, “NFC offers a much better user-friendly experience than QR. We’ve seen that Apple Wallet motivates both plastic card users and adopters of QR code to migrate to a better experience.”

A manager at Tianjin Metropolitan Card also stressed the enhanced user experience with the Apple Pay transit platform that is enabled by Snowball: “Whether you’re a daily commuter or just an occasional passenger, you can always get a seamless payment experience with Tianjin transit card in Apple Wallet on your iPhone or Apple Watch.”

 

Covid-19 has led to an increased demand for affordable and convenient forms of contactless payment.
“Working jointly with Apple and the public transit agencies to bring mobile ticketing for transit in China called for a continued dedication to user experience, in addition to swift and seamless implementation.”

The Impact of Covid-19 on Transit Agencies in China

Covid-19 has led to an increased demand for affordable and convenient forms of contactless payment. For public transit agencies, virtual transit cards address these heightened needs in critical ways:

They reduce the need for manned ticket booths and expensive vending machines, saving not only capital expenditure costs but also on human resource costs. Payment via eWallets like Apple Pay also eliminates the sanitary concerns of cash changing hands, while allowing card issuance and top-ups at any time and place. Finally, by reducing plastic card production, the use of mobile devices saves transit agencies money, while giving commuters a more convenient (and eco-friendly) way to access public transport.

Wang Na, who works for the Marketing Department at Xi’an Chang’an Card Payment, noted that the introduction of Xi’an transit card on iPhone or Apple Watch was one of the additional services made available to passengers in Xian during the pandemic this year:

“2020 has not been a normal year,” she said. “During Covid-19, at Chang’An Card, we introduced Xi’an transit card on iPhone or Apple Watch, which is a truly valuable option for our passengers. We also developed more online services, including food delivery, as well as services to help people worship their ancestors during Qingming.”

A spokesperson at Shijiazhuang Smart Card highlighted the hope that the new mobile ticketing launch would expand business for the transit agency when he said, “Supporting Shijiazhuang transit cards on iPhone or Apple Watch is crucial for the Shijiazhuang market. With it, we expect to acquire more users and provide better public transportation services.”

 

Excellent Customer Experience

Physical cards are still available for commuters who chose not to go mobile, but the mobile format comes with many benefits.

Excellent customer experience was a priority for Snowball’s engineers who developed the OnBoard™ service platform, which is why the transit apps built on OnBoard™ come with multiple features. App users can view their journeys and transaction histories, refund money, backup and restore the card, and more.

“Snowball has always focused on a great user experience,” said Ciaran Fisher, Chief Executive Officer of Snowball. “Working jointly with Apple and the public transit agencies to bring mobile ticketing for transit in China called for a continued dedication to user experience, in addition to swift and seamless implementation.”

Lu Jinping, General Manager at Suzhou Citizen Card, made a comment that echoed the priority on fast execution made by Mr. Fisher:

“While working with Snowball, we experienced the benefits of collaborating with a milestone- driven team. Their project planning was a role model for flawless execution.”

 

Want to find out how to bring mobile ticketing to your city in only 6 months?

 Book a meeting with Snowball today!

Snowball and RTA Bring Mobile Ticketing to Dubai

Snowball and RTA Bring Mobile Ticketing to Dubai

Snowball Technology and RTA Bring Mobile Ticketing to Dubai’s Ultra-modern Public Transportation System

Posted by Shannon Amy Murphy

December 28, 2020

The nol Card just got better

In 2009, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority introduced the nol Card, a contactless smartcard that can carry prepaid funds to pay for bus and train fares, using DESFire card technology. (“Nol” means “fare” in Arabic.)

And now, from December 28, 2020 onward, passengers in Dubai can use their Huawei smart devices to download virtual nol Cards. These virtual cards function in the same way as traditional cards, except that, well, everything is digital.

After downloading a nol Card, passengers can load funds and choose a product, without the need to buy and carry a plastic card. Virtual nol cards allow commuters to access the city’s metro, bus and water bus using NFC and eSE technologies.

Once funds are loaded and a passenger is ready to ride, all that is required is a tap of a Huawei device at NFC gate readers, for quick access to public transport. It’s as easy as that.

Currently, there are several types of nol products available: a 7-day pass, the nol Silver card and the nol Gold card. The 7-day pass grants unlimited access to public transport for seven days. The Silver and Gold cards grant access to public transport as well as Dubai public parks, Etihad Museum and over 2,000 shops in Dubai. The Gold option gives passengers the extra privilege of riding the Gold class cabin on trains and trams, among other benefits.

Virtual nol cards allow commuters to access the city’s metro, bus and water bus using NFC and eSE technologies.

A Collaboration between Snowball Technology and Dubai’s RTA

This launch has been made possible by a close collaboration between the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai and Snowball Technology, Ltd.

The RTA is segmented into five agencies: Public Transport, Traffic and Roads, Rail, Licensing and Dubai Taxi. RTA operates the Dubai Metro, which is a state-of-the-art, automated and driverless metro system. It’s divided into a Red line and a Green line and serves 650,000 passengers a day. The RTA also operates an extensive bus service with more than 100 routes.

Snowball Technology’s core business, meanwhile, is to help public transit agencies take their existing plastic smartcards and business logic and transform them into a better digital version. Snowball worked with RTA to launch mobile ticketing for transit in Dubai through the use of Snowball’s virtualisation platform, OnBoard™.

“Collaborating with RTA to virtualise the nol Card has been a wonderful learning experience, a privilege and a big step for Snowball,” says Snowball Technology CEO Ciaran Fisher. “I am proud of what our team has achieved so far and happy to see our first DESFire project in the Middle East now come to fruition.”

While the virtual nol Card is Snowball Technology’s first project in the Middle East, the company has already helped over 100 major cities provide mobile ticketing to mass transit riders. Dubai RTA marks Snowball’s 50th live Public Transit Agency.

Snowball’s President, Bob Jiang is looking forward to the next destinations to be served by the OnBoard™ platform. “We are excited about the prospect of assisting other Public Transit Agencies around the world with mobile ticketing for their customers,” says Jiang.

“We are excited about the prospect of assisting other Public Transit Agencies around the world with mobile ticketing for their customers.”

A Milestone for RTA

The Nol Pay launch is expected to accelerate and help drive the Nol payment platform both within and beyond transit. Nol Pay will allow users to make purchases at select shops and pharmacies, gain access to museums and even pay for gas at certain gas stations.

This seamless customer journey brings passengers not only convenience but also increased peace of mind as they make contactless payments in post-Covid Dubai.

Want to find out how to bring mobile ticketing to your city in only 6 months?

 Book a meeting with Snowball today!

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