Nationwide interoperable contactless ticketing across Denmark

The Danish Travel Card system

The Challenge

The project started at the end of 1995 when the Greater Copenhagen Authority, the Danish State Railways and the Copenhagen Metro decided to develop an electronic travel card as the future fare medium for the Greater Copenhagen Region.

In 2000, the project was expanded to cover the whole country and the Association of County Councils joined as the representative of all regional public transport authorities.

A jointly owned company, Rejsekort A/S, with the public transport operators as shareholders, was set up in August 2003 to conduct the project and handle all contacts with suppliers.
The idea of the Travel Card was to make it simple and easy to use public transport anywhere in Denmark - any time, any place.

This implied the replacement of various existing ticketing systems by a nationwide integrated fare system based on contactless technology.

In May 2005, Rejsekort A/S awarded the contract for the supply of the Danish Travel Card system to Thales and its partner Accenture in the East-West consortium.

The Solution

The ticketing system designed and supplied by Thales encompasses the following:
3 300 buses equipped with on-board contactless validators at entry and exit
497 stations equipped with contactless validators, agent-operated point of sale terminals and self-service card vending and reloading machines
1 700 hand-held verifying terminals for inspectors

One of the key features of the Danish Travel Card system Card designed by Thales is its user friendliness: no more need for the traveller to be familiar with the fare structure (zone boundaries) or to decide in advance which ticket type is most advantageous (daily pass or multi-journey), the system automatically charges the best possible fare.

At the start of a journey, the passenger checks with his/her Travel Card. A down payment is then deducted from the purse in the card. If the passenger changes to another train or bus at some stage during the journey, the card must be revalidated in the same way through a new check-in without necessarily checking out when alighting from the previous mode. At the end of the journey, the
passenger checks out. The system calculates the fare for the entire journey and adjusts the purse value accordingly.

With the Travel Card project, a new pricing scheme is put in place, based on "bird's flight" distance between the start zone and end zone of a complete journey including transfers.
At the end of the month, a rebate is credited back to the Travel Card based on the amount of travelling done that month.

Such a system will enable to phase out season passes and multi-journey tickets while guaranteeing the best possible deal to frequent users.

For further convenience, holders of a personalised card can also opt for the "auto-reload" feature whereby the card is automatically recharged through a bank transfer with a pre-set amount when the balance reaches an agreed fixed minimum.

Customers can easily access via Internet the complete reloading and travel history related to their cards, along with fare calculation details for each of their journeys.


The Project Key Features

• Detailed functional specifications in the request for proposal
• Centralised client organization (one contract with Rejsekort A/S covering the needs of all Danish transport authorities)
• Nationwide multi-authority system with a web server
• Same equipment for all transport operatorsbased on a stylish customised design
• Contactless system with T-Purse and period passes (Mifare 4k to comply with RKF-CL standard) and cash paper tickets for occasional travellers
• Nationwide fare structure based on distance
• Loyalty scheme as an incentive to use the T-Purse, pushing customers away from period passes
• Mandatory check-in and check-out for all customers and all transport modes (except at transfers when check-out is optional)
• Interoperability with the ticketing system implemented in the south of Sweden (Skåne) to cross the Oresund strait by train

Key Benefits
User friendly: no complicated fare calculation and no need to decide on the type of ticket required as the system automatically calculates the best fare for the customer, wherever in Denmark
Cost reductions for operators: development of automatic payment, greater level of customer self-service
New marketing opportunities: large amount of data gathered valuable for planning, new marketing initiatives and a better distribution of revenue between operators