China’s doing away with train tickets with QR code payments on the rise

File photo: Passengers stand near the door of a crowded train cabin at a subway station in Beijing on Aug 26, 2011.
Reuters

China is known for its electronic payment wave, and the country has just added public transport to the grand list of things its countrymen pay for with a swipe of their phones.

Commuters will soon be able to pay for fares on the Beijing Metro using electronic payment systems like Alipay, according to a report in the Beijing Youth Daily. The QR code service will be rolled out to all subway stations in the city starting May.

The new system is set to completely replace the current near-field communication (NFC) payment technology at a date which was not specified.

The NFC technology was introduced last year, where only Android users could scan and pay through QR codes at train stations. This drew complaints from many Apple smartphone users who felt like they were missing out on the new system, South China Morning Post reports.

The move hopes to reduce congestion and queue lines on the Beijing rail transit system, which is reported to accommodate 10 million journeys per day, with 15% of passengers queuing to purchase one-way tickets at stations.

This leads to snaking 30-minute queues at manual and automatic ticket windows for 700,000 commuters daily.

Other cities that have implemented the QR code system are Xi’an, Guangzhou and Hangzhou.

Shanghai was the latest to install the system to all 389 of its stations in January, allowing people to pay for their commute with electronic payment applications like Alipay and China Unionpay, reported Xinhua.