Forget metro tickets and Navigo Pass: Android smartphones are replacing them

Forget metro tickets and Navigo Pass: Android smartphones are replacing them

Version 8.0 of the IDF Mobilités app, available on the Google Play Store, allows you to purchase transport tickets on all Android smartphones. In the past, this option was reserved for Samsung and Orange devices. Numerama caught up with the teams responsible for this deployment and explained all about these changes.

After three years Navico has started testing Pass on smartphones (but only for Samsung smartphones and certain devices equipped with an Orange SIM card), Île-de-France Mobilités informs Numerama, the deployment of all functions Smartphones Android. It will be effective from Monday, October 17, 2022.

mercy For HCE technology, which emulates a secure chip in NFC-compatible Android smartphones (from Android 8), you can buy metro tickets or a Navigo subscription directly from your smartphone, without physical support. A first step before the modernization of the network expected by the end of 2023 and Introducing Navigo Pass on iPhone A few months ago.

What transport tickets are available on smartphones?

On Tuesday, October 13, Numerama was approached by Laurent Probst, Managing Director of Île-de-France Mobilites, to discuss the modernization of the Ile-de-France public transport network.

After years of growth, the region boasts the dematerialization of transport tickets on 70% of smartphones in the region, with the remaining 30% corresponding to the estimated share of iPhones in Ill-de-France. If he doesn’t believe the smartphone will completely eliminate the physical pass, he explains to us that he’s targeting public transport users and tourists, who don’t need to buy a ticket when they arrive.

“We envision a 50/50 future where not everyone wants a smartphone pass. »

Laurent Probst, managing director of Ill-de-France Mobilites

By installing the app IDF Mobilities On their Android smartphone, from version 8.0, they can buy transport tickets directly from their smartphone. Another application called Mess Ticket Navigo is mandatory (But IDF Mobilités will ask you to install it). It is a service running in the background that allows the smartphone to be authenticated by the terminals responsible for authentication.

Screenshots of the application // Source: IDF Mobilités.
Screenshots of the app. // Source: IDF Mobilites.

In the section Purchase of the application, Sec on my phone Allows you to purchase different titles. Among them:

  • A single ticket.
  • Ticket Book (x10).
  • Navico Day Pass.
  • Navico Week Pass.
  • The month of Navigo is passing.
  • OrlyBus and RoissyBus tickets.
  • Navico Jeans Weekend Pass.

Among those excluded from this first rollout are the annual Navigo pass, the Liberte+ pass (which allows you to pay at the end of the month only for what you actually consume) and the destination tickets, from point A to point B. The region is aware of this and will introduce them at the end of 2023, when its network of validators is modernized. Better analyze a user’s journey.

Example of buying a transport ticket.  // Source: IDF Mobilites
Example of buying a transport ticket. // Source: IDF Mobilites

The absence of an annual package can frustrate subscribers throughout the year. If they want to get rid of their physical pass quickly, they’ll have to wait until their subscription ends to switch to a monthly top-up.

Note that this is always possible Recharge your physical Navigo Pass from your smartphoneOn Android or iOS.

Card or smartphone, you have to choose

These new features have several limitations. Among them, booking these tickets is one of the most complicated concerns. As the IDF Mobilités network is not centralized, it is not possible to synchronize tickets or monthly subscription between your card and smartphone. One replaces the other, meaning your card won’t work if you switch to a smartphone (it’s also impossible to import an existing subscription, you’ll have to wait for it to end).

If you lose your smartphone, tickets or subscriptions are not stored in the cloud. So it is necessary to either buy them back or contact customer service to get a trade-in. IDF Mobilités is studying different ways of connecting tickets in the customer area to allow simultaneous use on multiple devices (for example, watch and telephone), but this is not possible today. The titles are, in a sense, stored on the smartphone.

Oh, Navigo passes by!  // Source: Numerama
Oh, Navigo passes by! // Source: Numerama

Warning: screen on and battery required!

Another important detail is that the protocol used by IDF Mobilites prevents the conversion of an off smartphone into a Navigo pass. This is a limitation that may be so problematic for some users that they may decide to keep their original Navigo Pass. In the current state of technology, it is mandatory to turn on your screen and put the battery in front of the validator (except for Samsung smartphones, which do not work because they use a dedicated chip). On the other hand, there is no need to have a network or a SIM card.

What to do in case of restriction?

If controlled, the Android smartphone acts like a physical pass. The controller can access his machine near your mobile and see a list of your last three checks. In the application, there is also the possibility to access the history.

Are all Android smartphones compatible?

With a few exceptions, yes.

Already, you must have a smartphone running at least Android 8, a version launched from 2017. The device in question must be compatible with NFC, a technology that allows contactless payments.

If you meet these criteria, your smartphone should be compatible… or nearly so. There is a blacklist of devices not compatible with HCE, which mainly concerns older Google smartphones (it works from the Pixel 6). Here is the list of incompatible smartphones: Google Pixel, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3A, Pixel 3A XL, Pixel 4, Pixel 4A, Pixel C, Pixel Slate, Nexus 5X, Noxus.

Google Pixel 5 is not compatible.  // Source: Google
Google Pixel 5 is not compatible. //Source: Google

What is the future of Navico Smartphone Pass?

Going forward, IDF Mobilites anticipates two critical deadlines:

  • Arrival of Navigo Pass on iPhone directly in Apple Wallet between June and September 2023.
  • A modernization of validators that will allow more titles to be used on smartphones by the end of 2023. This work started in 2019 and should be completed soon.

Source: Numerama

Other ways mentioned, but not announced in that region, include: using the service in other transportation applications (SNCF connection, RATP…), Navigo pass on watch (which is present on Apple Watch, but not anywhere else) or possible integrations with the Google Pay app. The region hopes to attract dematerialization from metro users (20% recharge their pass with their smartphone) and quickly change the habits of Ile-de-France residents.

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