Seoul Subway to Save Millions of Dollars with RFID Ticketing Technology from STMicroelectronics
The world’s first RFID-based scheme for single-journey reusable ticketing in mass transportation has recently gone live in Seoul, South Korea, and is expected to save some 3 billion Won (over US$2.4 million) per year using a robust solution based on RFID technology from STMicroelectronics, a leading developer of RFID chips.
Serving a city of 10 million people and operating since 1974, the Seoul Subway became a part of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s New Transportation System combining subway and bus networks in July 2004. The New Transportation system introduced a refillable traffic-card system called T-Money, alongside conventional paper tickets for cash-paying passengers. Now, to save the cost of provisioning more than 450 million printed paper tickets every year, estimated at 6.8 Won each, the Seoul Subway is replacing its paper tickets with RFID smart cards called Single Journey Tickets.
In the new system, automated vending machines issue the Single Journey Ticket in exchange for each passenger’s payment plus a 500 Won deposit for the ticket. Each ticket contains ST’s SRT512 contactless memory chip, which has features that allow the cards to be returned and re-issued to new passengers. This recycling of the tickets will save the cost and environmental impact of generating hundreds of millions of disposable paper tickets.
ST has worked with card issuer Korea Smart Card Co. Ltd. (KSCC), which operates the New Transportation System for the Seoul Metropolitan Government, to optimize the SRT512 to support the subway’s ticketing system. “Support provided by ST has been invaluable in ensuring timely introduction of the Single Journey Ticket, particularly in providing standards-compliant products, technical expertise, and stability of supply,” said Kevin C.Moon, CFO, Korea Smart Card Co., Ltd. “The system is secure and robust and will reduce operating costs by eliminating paper tickets and saving staff time.”
“This is a major success for ST as it clearly demonstrates that our solution can satisfy the largest and most demanding applications,” said Benoit Rodrigues, General Manager of the RFID and EEPROM Division, STMicroelectronics. “Our RFID solutions are in action worldwide, supporting ticketing for numerous events, venues and infrastructures, and this project proves the capabilities of our products in very large transportation systems. We expect this to create a stepping stone for further successes.”
The SRT512 is specifically designed for short-range applications meeting ISO 14443-B that need re-usable tokens, such as access-control, event-ticketing and mass-transport ticketing applications. To operate effectively in these applications, the device features a built-in anti-collision mechanism to prevent conflicts with other nearby cards, and achieves best-in-class transaction speed. On-chip computation, including dual counters and anti-tear properties, enable a secure and physically robust solution.
“The SRT512 feature set was a key factor in winning the design-in for this project, and enabled us to deliver the security, reliability and robustness that KSCC and the Seoul Metropolitan Government required,” added Rodrigues,
ST has also previously collaborated with KSCC in the introduction of the T-Money pre-paid transport card. Accepted in buses, subway and taxis, these cards can also be used as an e-purse enabling low-value payments in shops in Seoul. The T-Money pre-paid card is based on ST’s proven ST19WR contactless smartcards and has been deployed in large volume for the past two years. The device has demonstrated excellent contactless performance, which is a key factor to ensure speed of transaction and high throughput at validation gates, in addition to high security against attacks and counterfeiting.
With a wide range contactless product portfolio, from RFID memory to contactless smartcards, ST offers global solutions to transport operators ranging from single journey re-usable tickets to transport and micro-payment cards.