Change is coming for Beijing commuters, as local authorities aim to adapt to the connected world.
Starting after the Chinese Lunar New Year, the Beijing Municipal Administration (BMA) will offer five million new public transportation cards with wireless capabilities, all in the form of a wearable device.
The touchless wrist strap, which can be connected to mobile phone wirelessly, will double as a transit card and health monitor. The smart device will enhance convenience in a big way, as commuters will be able to purchase or refill their cards directly on their mobile phones. This simply means no more long lines at ticketing offices for commuters wearing the strap.
Built as a unified platform for the whole city, the device will work as a multi-purpose card, with paying function extended to supermarkets, convenience stores, vending machines, taxis and restaurants.
The strap will be priced at 168 yuan (US$27), and a subsidy program will also be implemented to reward passengers who prefer walking to taking public transports.
The wrist-worn smart transit card will then be rolled out in a whopping 400 other cities in China in the future. All in all, the card is similar to Singapore’s CEPAS, Singapore’s Octopus Card, and London’s Oyster Card, all of which are accepted transit-wide and among additional vendors.
What about New York? It looks like the Big Apple is still lagging behind. I really would like to see such a program implemented in the New York subway. Whether or not it’s appropriate to have a dedicated wristband for the subway, I’m not sure. I would rather see a New York subway companion app for the Apple Watch. Imagine an app that eliminates the need of swiping the MTA card. An app that makes your commute easier by providing personalized alerts as delay occurs in your commute. An app that will indicates the arriving train as it approaches the station. Probably one day…