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Westbahn rail service lets consumers buy train tickets via mobile

The service is scheduled to begin this December, when Westbahn begins service. Westbahn is a private train system in Austria.

“Westbahn wanted to use an advanced mobile ticketing system aboard trains based on an off-the-shelf solution,” said Nitzan Tal, regional marketing and business development director for Continental Europe at VeriFone, San Jose, CA.

“By using Payware Mobile with the iPod Touch, Westbahn was able to harness the technology and easily integrate it with a secure payment system,” he said.

VeriFone is a global electronic payment company.

All aboard
Travelers will have two options when buying mobile tickets on Westbahn – they can either buy tickets online beforehand or buy them on the train from train conductors.

If users buy online tickets, Westbahn employees will scan a printed bar code with VeriFone-enabled devices.

To buy tickets on the train, consumers buy them directly from agents on the train and tickets are printed on mobile printers.

VeriFone’s Payware was rolled out in January and features built-in NFC and PIN entry.

Westbahn trains will run hourly from Vienna to Salzburg.

Techy travelers
Westbahn is not the only transportation company tapping into mobile payments – the area is quickly becoming a hot spot for travel and transportation companies.

In January, London train service Heathrow Express launched an iPhone application that let users buy and receive mobile tickets on their handsets (see story).

In other European transportation news, mobile users in Switzerland can buy metro tickets on Windows 7 devices (see story).

“This is generating a lot of interest, as customers understand the benefits and value of having a payment and ticketing solution based on iPod Touch and Payware Mobile instead of purchasing proprietary, expensive mobile ticketing and travel solutions,” Mr. Tal said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York