Could you give us a brief description of your transport network and the region it serves?

With 11 million inhabitants, the Île-de-France is France’s most highly populated region. It is home to 20% of the country’s jobs, but represents just 2.2% of its surface area, i.e. 12,000km². The Île-de-France is made up of eight departments, including Paris, which receives 60m tourists a year.
RATP is the region’s leading transport operator, catering for 2.8 bn journeys per year. Its network spans 14 metro lines serving 380 stations, one funicular railway, 312 bus lines (3,388km and 8,359 stops covered), 2 RER lines together running over 115km and serving 67 stations, and 2 light rail lines (20km of line).
RATP runs airport links to Paris’ two major airports via Roissybus, Orlybus and the Orlyval shuttle service, and also operates three tourist bus services.

What were your reasons for choosing a remote ticketing system?

We had two main reasons: the first was technological - our magnetic fare collection system had to be renewed as it was nearing the end of its life cycle; the second, economic – we were keen to reduce costs by improving operating standards and maintenance, and increase revenues by reducing fraud, stopping counterfeit tickets and making it easier for our clients by offering a multi-service scheme. Another influence on our choice of a new ticketing system was the company’s strategy of fostering customer loyalty which centres on increasing our knowledge of customers’ transport needs and making public transport more attractive thanks to better targeted services.

Why did you choose Calypso for your new system?

The NAVIGO pass, which has gradually been introduced since 2001 is RATP’s new answer to ticketing and is set to replace the magnetic stripe cards that are currently in use. Navigo can be used in a contact-based or contactless form and meets the specifications required by CALYPSO. It has allowed us to establish the ticketing system we were looking for. Having access to a technology that can store and process different data securely and swiftly will give us clearer insight into our passengers and help us build a closer and more personalised relationship with them. Teleticketing paves the way for other methods of purchasing such as topping up subscriptions by telephone, Internet or vending machines and for other methods of payment, thanks to the e-purse. Calypso is a tried and tested solution that has undergone the most rigorous study. It was a safe choice for RATP.

Who supplies the new ticketing system?

We called in several different suppliers to put in place our new ticketing system
ASCOM MONETEL for ticket validators on metro and RER
ASK for the smart cards, readers and point of sale terminals
AXALTO and OBERTHUR CS for smart cards
PARKEON for automatic ticket vending machines
SPIRTECH for the ticketing application design
THALES eTransactions for ticket validators on buses

Can you give us a rundown of how and when the new ticketing system will be introduced?

In October 2001, the Ile-de-France transport union (STIF), RATP and SNCF launched a new teleticketing system.
Back in June 2001, all 40,000 RATP employees were given a new contact-based and contactless service card that could be used for transport and a number of applications within the company. The following timetable was put in place for the NAVIGO transport pass:

 Since October 2001 for holders of the Carte Intégrale annual season ticket (as and when the 260,000 season tickets needed to be renewed; thanks to contactless technology, there are now 760,000 customers using the Carte Intégrale Navigo Pass)

  •  Since September 2002 for holders of the Imagine "R" annual season ticket for students (400,000 ticket holders)
  •  September 2003 for holders of the school version of the Imagine "R" annual season ticket (some 400,000 secondary school children have an Imagine "R" season ticket).
  •  As of 2005 for holders of monthly or weekly travelcards (i.e. 900,000 customers till 2007 several millions in 2008)  
  •  The last stage involves other annual season tickets (Emeraude, Amethyste,...i.e. another 300,000 people in 2008), books of tickets (2009), and last the disappearance of magnetic cards entirely to be replaced by electronic tickets (2010). 


Since the new system was introduced, rail network access gates have been equipped with at least two contactless validators per control group. By early 2004, our aim was for all networks in the Île-de-France region to be equipped with contactless validators.

RATP wanted to develop a system whereby tickets could also be sold and topped up outside stations. Automatic ticket vending and credit loading machines were implemented in 2004, making the ticket buying process quicker, simpler and more flexible. In order to further facilitate their purchase, our tickets will also be on sale at shops and other key establishments, e.g. companies, universities, shopping centres and hotels. Remote sale via the Internet will also be possible.

Do the results meet your initial objectives?

STIF conducted passengers surveys in November 2001 and April 2002. The findings showed that passengers, like RATP staff, hold a very high opinion of the NAVIGO pass. They are highly enthusiastic about the project and 96% of those interviewed would recommend the new pass to friends and family.

Teleticketing has allowed us to collect a wealth of statistics already. We have information about ticket validations and know that 6,000,000 electronic validations are done each day on our network. We run an after sales service to deal with lost and stolen cards – they are first cancelled and then replaced with the unused credit intact – and cards with technical problems.

The gradual shift over to electronic ticketing for monthly season ticket holders in 2005 was a valuable learning process as we know much less about their profiles and habits than about those of our annual travelcard holders. The new ticket system has also given us deeper insight into bus and light rail travel thanks to the introduction of systematic validation at the front of the bus, made easy by the swift action of the contactless pass.

Do you plan to extend the scope of your system?

The card was designed with an eye to the future. Further out, we can turn it into a multi-application device, as an example NFC mobile phones, and remote electronic ticket distribution through ATM, Internet and NFC mobile phones: thanks to Navigo, customer will buy electronic tickets wherever and whenever they want.