Brussels – no waffling when it comes to contactless

The local waffle type in Brussels

Image via Wikipedia

The heart of the European Union is pumping to the contactless beat – and although it is playing host to fewer schemes than other major cities, the technology is breathing life into Brussels.

Like many big cities the Belgian capital has embraced contactless for transport applications. Several years ago it became one of the first European cities to experiment with self- service bike rental, but its transport plans have come a long way since then.  In 2007, Belgium’s biggest urban public transport operator, Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles (STIB), launched its MoBIB teleticketing system, an open-standard Calypso contactless smart card. It can be used on STIB as well as on other transport networks in the city and can be reloaded with customized contracts in various points of sale. In addition to transportation, the cards provide users with access to museums and car parks, and it could even be extended to car sharing services.

STIB expanded the scheme in 2009, selecting Gemalto to provide contactless transport cards to the network’s 400,000 subway, bus and tram users. Eventually, the cards will be issued country-wide. Travelers can top up their cards at ticket machines or directly at readers, and buy different types of ticket including season, 10-journey and discount tickets. The cards also give access to public car lots and could eventually be used for access to stadiums, fairs and theatres.

In the same year, Belgacom’s mobile network operator Proximus trialed contactless payment using NFC stickers, which were fixed to the back of participants’ cell phones or other devices. Around 500 users were involved in the trial, which aimed to build Belgacom’s PingPing mobile payment offering, enabling them to pay for goods at Delhaize supermarkets and Coca-Cola vending machines. Other firms involved in the trial included Accord Services (meal vouchers) and Tunz (eMoney issuer).

View the League table on Brussels here

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