“The application on the smartphone will communicate via Bluetooth with special Bluetooth sensors installed in the vehicle. The service will receive data that the user is riding the bus along a certain route, and create a temporary receipt for payment in the smartphone application, which can be shown to inspectors in case of a sudden check. The fare payment will happen only after some time, the money will be debited through the SBP, and then the permanent receipt will appear in the application, officially confirming the payment made”, told us Kirill Andreev, a student at the Institute of Economics and Management of Samara University, specializing in the area of training “Business Informatics”.
According to Kirill Andreev, this option – the payment delay – will allow avoiding of wrong triggering the system, for example, when the user with the application on his/her smartphone turned on in the automatic mode stands at the bus stop and happens to be in the range of Bluetooth sensors of the bus approached. The system may mistakenly decide that the user has boarded the bus, but as soon as the bus departs, the Bluetooth connection will be interrupted and no payment will occur.
You can even not turn on the automatic mode at all, but in this case, upon boarding the bus, you will need to take out your smartphone and manually press the button in the application, confirming the payment. In any way, it will be more convenient and easier to use this application, as it will allow not thinking about the fare payment process; besides, there will be no need for approaching a validator or passing your bank card or smartphone along the chain of passengers, simultaneously worrying whether they will either drop the expensive gadget or lose the card.
For the service to work in buses and minibuses, it will be necessary to install ESP controllers (these are boards with microchips and Bluetooth sensors), they are inexpensive, about 250 rubles each. For connection between smartphones and Bluetooth sensors, the developers have chosen a special Bluetooth protocol – BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). Due to applying this protocol, the load on the smartphone’s battery will be significantly less than in case of using usual Bluetooth Classic to be applied, for example, for connecting wireless headphones. Moreover, with the BLE protocol, the service user will not need to take care of the device visibility (which is necessary in Bluetooth Classic), It will be enough to turn on Bluetooth on the smartphone in advance, the connection will happen automatically.
“This service will surely add convenience when paying for travel. It is worth noting that this system is suitable for any ground public transport, and not only transport – in future, by using this service, it will be possible to organize independent payment for visits to museums, exhibitions, and other public places where you need to pay for admission, and even, for example, at fuel stations it will be possible to automatically pay for filled gasoline without leaving the car”, suggested Kirill Andreev.
The project team for developing the service was formed in April 2023, and consists of nine persons, including representatives of St. Petersburg State University, Samara University, National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Derzhavin Tambov State University. The mobile application of the service has been developed for Android smartphones, but there will be the version for iPhones, as well.
“The product is ready for launching, organizational issues are being resolved now. We plan to scale the service over all regions, including the Samara Region, but first we plan to test the service this year in St. Petersburg transport”, said Kirill Andreev.