G-Pass: Use your Cellphone to Enter the MRT

by Ka Edong on July 24, 2006

Finally, some indication of how the MRT will enable commuters to use their cellphones to enter the MRT stations.

The MRT ticketing system is up for a technology upgrade that will allow commuters to reload their MRT tickets using their cellphone. So says an article in the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) special section on Sunday Bulletin (July 23) describing an initiative from Globe, Globe Xchange Inc. (GXI, subsidiary that handles everything about G-Cash) and the MRT.

The new system, dubbed “G-Pass” has a chip that will be tapped on a sensor during entry and exit. Commuters can avail of the G-Pass chip inclusive of P50 pre-paid MRT fare. The G-Pass chip can then be reloaded using G-Cash.

Other features include G-Pass chip balance inquiry, SMS alerts for each G-Pass transaction and low-balance and reloading reminders. E.g. “Wala ka nang G-Pass load, baka mapilitan kang pumila, ma-reload ka na using G-Cash!”
The chip probably uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology (the article doesn’t describe this part of the ticketing system).

What’s cool: No need to line up to buy MRT tickets. The G-Pass is reusable.
What’s not cool:

  • You need to register the G-Pass via your cellphone
  • You need to activate the G-Pass at G-Pass reloading booths in the MRT stations.
  • I’m getting the impression that G-Cash is just one of the ways to reload the G-Pass. I have a feeling the G-Pass can actually be reloaded via over-the-counter cash. If so, it boils down to still having to queue at a G-Pass reloading booth to get additional load.

It’s all good. I’m looking forward to trying out this G-Pass.

Given that I have limited information about the service, I can’t help but think of a couple of ways to improve the service.

  1. Remove the need to activate the G-Pass chip
  2. Remove the need to queue at a reloading booth to reload the G-Pass chip.
  3. The MRT sensors should be able to conduct two kinds of transactions: debit (takes fare from your G-Pass chip) and credit (reloads your G-Pass chip). This should eliminate the need for a reloading booth because the sensors can reload your G-Pass chip when you enter or exit the MRT station.
  4. Any G-Cash subscriber should be able to reload any other G-Pass chip. I have a G-Cash account and I could re-load my officemate’s G-Pass chip.

To Globe, GXI, MRT: Goodluck! Hope this technology will truly help shorten long queues of commuters buying MRT tickets.

Read more:

ka edong
MRT ka-muter

Comments

  • yes to #4 – so we Smart subscribers can get loaded too!

  • Right, migs.

    Was thinking this morning, if Globe were able to brand it “G-Pass”, malamang they asked for exclusivity (read: “exclude Smart subscribers”)! Not good. 🙁

    #4 makes it inclusive enough.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Smart comes out with their own “Smart-pass”.

  • since Smart is more masa, maybe they’ll make passes for buses and jeepneys. hehe.

  • eheheh :-p

  • nox

    wonder if instead they based it on a picture message? in shotcode or datamatrix like format? that way no more need for a separate chip. and easier to be telco independent. ehehehe

    currently they should try experimenting to put those automated card dispensing machines to nearby malls.

  • Nox, I have a data matrix story (TickeTXT), I’ll publish this week.

  • Pingback: Technobiography » Globe’s G-Pass for the MRT()

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