TELEPHONE Ticketing: The first 200 test users began using Touch&Travel mobile phone e-ticketing in Germany on February 29, in a pilot for a system which DB and development partner Vodfone hope to introduce nationally in 2010.

The initial trials cover suburban trains in Berlin, local transport in Potsdam, and Berlin - Hannover ICE services. Stations and bus stops are being equipment with near-field communication terminals, over which passengers wave their phones to check-in before boarding, and then again to check-out at their destination. The data is stored in the phone on SIM cards supplied by Giesecke & Devrient. The length and price of the journey are calculated at the end of the trip, and the customer receives a monthly bill. Conductors can check tickets during the journey using a portable reader.

Vodafone and T-Mobile are participating in the trials, but Touch&Travel is intended as a standard e-ticketing platform which will be available to other phone and transport operators.

'We're driving growth in the public transport sector by simplifying rail journeys', said DB Chief Executive Hartmut Mehdorn. 'It is the only way we can make our products and services attractive to young people.'

  • CAPTION: Touch&Travel was launched on February 29 by Hartmut Mehdorn (left) and Friedrich Joussen, the CEOs of DB and Vodafone Germany.