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January 17, 2018

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Mobile phone payment era in Metro

CHINESE passengers will be able to use their smartphones to pay for Metro journeys from Saturday. However, foreign passengers will have to wait until June, the city’s Metro operator said yesterday.

After a two-month trial on the maglev line, payment by scanning a QR code will be available at all the city’s 389 Metro stations.

To use the system, pa ssengers must first download the “Metro daduhui” app and then link their Alipay or UnionPay card to it.

The Metro is looking into other payment methods such as WeChat, but tests are still underway.

The app offers two ways of paying. One is to deposit money, at least 10 yuan (US$1.5) through Alipay or UnionPay. Alternatively, the system will automatically take the fee from the user’s Alipay or bank account after each trip.

“Passengers will not have to top up their credit frequently to board the Metro,” said Jin Tao, general manager of the Metro’s information management center.

Every station will at least have four turnstiles that support the QR scan.

“We wish to provide an alternative to our regular passengers apart from transport cards, but more importantly more convenience to those who don’t have a transport card and have to line up to buy a one-way ticket every time they take the Metro,”said Wang Ziqiang, deputy general manager of the Metro’s operation management center. About 20 percent of the 11 million people who commute via the Metro everyday use a one-way ticket, Metro statistics show.

From January 20 to February 28, passengers who scan their phones will enjoy discounts. With Alipay, 5 yuan will be waived for the first trip. In addition, passengers can enjoy two trips a day at a 20 percent discount. With UnionPay, passengers will have 2 yuan off for two trips a day.

However, the interchange discount that transport cards offer will not apply.


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