Travelers on some long distant bus routes will be able to pay fares using cellular phones from the end of this month, thanks to a tie-up between Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and bus firms. The electronics giant aims to introduce the ticketless service on about 80 routes operated by 40 firms during fiscal 2003 and hopes to extend it to theater and other ticketing in the future.
Customers can make and download reservations on Internet-capable mobile phones and pay by credit card. When boarding, passengers show the driver their phone screens displaying the reservation details and their credit card. By late April, eight companies operating on four routes, including Tokyo to Osaka, are expected to be offering virtual ticketing. CONTINUE
COMMENTARY: More evidence that one of 2003′s biggest stories will be the provision of true e-commerce via keitai. Don’t miss our upcoming video feature on BitWallet’s emoney service, now under intensive development work by carriers and others for adoption onto cell phones. BitWallent is a JV between, among others, Sony and NTT DoCoMo.