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In Beijing, swipe phone, board subway

China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-15 07:42

A passenger swipes his cell phone to enter the subway in Beijing on Monday. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]

Passengers with an Android phone in Beijing can now swipe their phones to board the subway.

Riders with compatible phone models need to download an app to use the phone for the subway, according to local authorities.

The new method began on Monday, and signs announcing that a phone is now a public transport card are posted around the subway station and along subway lines in the capital.

Currently, the function is limited to around 160 Android phone models with a nearfield communication, or NFC, function.

Beijing Transportation Co launched a pilot program on the Fangshan subway line about a month ago and attracted about 200,000 phone users.

Wu Lihua, 35, a worker in the healthcare industry, said she had used the mobile option. "It's very convenient," said Wu, who uses a Huawei Mate 9.

Zheng Ce, 25, who works in sales, said she had heard about using mobile to top up a bus card but she never used that before. When the NFC function was introduced, Zheng said she wanted to try but her phone was not compatible.

There are also some technical issues that have been raised because of the new function and the compatible phone type.

When 26-year-old Wang Xueshuo tried downloading the app for his Android Huawei P9 phone, he charged it with 50 yuan ($7.50). But he found that the phone could not be swiped through the subway gate.

"I often buy tickets with cash," Wang said. "I wanted to try the new way, but I didn't expect my money to get stuck in the app."

According to staff members at Beijing Subway Co, the mobile metro card reduces some pressure at rush hours. However, there were some problems that have occurred. A phone might die on a long subway ride, for example.

An introductory memo explaining how to use mobile tickets is available at all 274 subway stations in Beijing. Users can also find information through the subway system's WeChat account.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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