Nexus, which owns, manages and is modernising Metro, has developed an app for Metro ticket inspectors to check a passenger’s Pop card with a smartphone.
The app, which is uploaded to an android smartphone, allows the ticket inspectors to scan the Pop card in order to check the ticket products stored on it.
Nexus also plans to make the app available for the public to download to any NFC enabled smartphone, free of charge. This will allow people to check the products stored on their own Pop card.
This will be particularly useful when, in the near future, Pop cards can be used on a pay-as-you-go basis, with customers able to upload credit on to their card using a home computer, at local shops and at Metro stations. The app will let a Metro customer check the balance on the card.
The Pop card is a credit card sized piece of plastic that allows customers to buy Metro travel in new ways, including online, similar to an Oyster card in London.
Nexus has already issued over 13,000 adult Pop cards as part of the Pop card transport revolution, and the number is on the increase.
Metro ticket inspectors are already using smartphones so they can scan a Pop card as part of their job to check tickets at Metro stations and on board trains.
Head of Service Delivery for Nexus, Andy Bairstow, said: “The app allows Metro inspectors to scan a Pop card in a fraction of a second, with no inconvenience to the passenger.
“This will ensure that people who are travelling on Metro have the correct products stored their card, allowing us to know who might be attempting to travel fraudulently.”
He added: “Passengers will soon be able to download the app for free so that they can check the products stored on their own Pop card. When we introduce pay-as-you go travel on to the Pop cards, customers will be able to check the stored balance, look at their transactions and confirm their last top up. This makes life easier for passengers and Metro much more user friendly.”
Pop card holders can buy a range of Metro season tickets – right up to a full annual pass – from any Tyne and Wear Metro ticket machine and upload this on to their card.
To buy season tickets on a Pop card customers simply have to touch their card against the bright orange reader on the ticket machine to be offered the full range of tickets available to them on the screen.
When Metro’s new automatic ticket gates and validators are activated on the Metro system, passengers must validate their Pop card by ‘touching in’ and ‘touching out’ of Metro stations. Paper tickets will also work to operate the new gates.
The new technology will have a phased introduction so that Metro's 38 million passengers have a smooth transition to the new way of travelling.
Metro ticket inspectors are employed by DBTW, the company which runs trains and manages stations on behalf of Nexus.