Author: Leung, Kwong-fai Jonathan
Title: A case study on the application of contactless smart card in the public transport industry in Hong Kong
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 1998
Subject: Smart cards -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies
Transportation -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies
Strategic alliances (Business) -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Computing
Pages: iv, 85, [16] leaves : ill. ; 29 cm
Language: English
Abstract: In 1974, a clever Frenchman Roland Moreno raised a clever idea. He sealed an IC (Integrated Circuit) chip into a plastic card of the size of a name card and created an IC card or called chip card. Twenty years later, the IC card has been developed into smart card through the integration of the most advanced semiconductor technology and microcomputer technology. With the increasing popularity and widespread usage of smart card in 1990s in various countries and industries, such as banking, finance, transportation, health and insurance, it is not difficult to predict that smart card as a new form of electronic money will gradually replace coins and bank notes. Such fundamental changes will undoubtedly have a lot of impacts to our economy and society. To keep up with the global trend, five major Hong Kong public transport operators, namely Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC), Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC - both East Rail & Light Rail), Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB), CityBus, and Hong Kong & Yaumatei Ferry (HYF) joined together to form a joint-venture company known as "Creative Star Limited" in June 1994. The first objective of this study is to compile an overall and in-depth review of a smart card project through a case study of Creative Star's CSC project. Secondly, this study also conducts a survey to evaluate the potential impacts of CSC to the productivity level of the transport operator. With the findings from the research, we would have a better understanding in the factors being considered when choosing a new technology and the potential problems in designing and implementing such a large-scale IT system. These knowledge will help us to avoid some common pitfalls in designing and managing such kind of IT project. The findings also indicate that smart cards could improve the productivity of the transport operator by reducing the fare collection costs, passenger boarding times, vehicle down-time due to malfunctions of the fare collection system, driver workload and stress, and so on. However, owing to time and manpower constraints, this study could not cover a wider scope of area so that the onboard survey only focus on LRT feeder bus. As the utilisation rate of Octopus is still not very high since it was only launched for a short period of time, therefore all the findings that are presented in this study may still be unstable, i.e. subject to change after the system utilisation goes up. Smart cards are not just a technological advancement, they present the opportunity and threat of sociological revolution. Individuals will find that their buying patterns may be influenced by the ease of use of a single card. For example, with the use of CSC, using public transport would become much easier and convenient than ever before, it would make more people making use of public transport instead of their own cars which may eventually help to reduce the air pollution problems and also reduce traffic congestion in the city.
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