The aim of the Open Mobile Ticketing Alliance is to enable the vision of ‘Register once, travel anywhere’ by developing open, interoperable standards with payment vendors and transit operators.

The overall objective of the OMTA is to define and promote an open, standards-based solution for mobile ticketing, based on an alternative and open mobile ticketing solution. The Open Mobile Ticketing Alliance builds on top of open payment systems, replacing cards with a mobile device. This device (usually a mobile phone) is used as an identifier to gain access to the public transport system. All transit system data and business logic, as well as the passenger’s payment information, is stored in the cloud, enabling a truly interoperable open payments-based ticketing system. Passengers register for the service only once and can travel in all public transport systems that support the solution without further registration or set-up. When entering a public transport vehicle, Passengers present their Phones to a Validation Device, authorizing that Journey. The Phone would communicate the Passenger’s identifier securely to the Validation Device through the proximity radio interface (NFC) or, in the future, via another communications channel such as Bluetooth. Through a series of secure interactions, a Tap Record is created that uniquely links the Passenger’s Phone to the Validation Device at that time. This Tap Record is uploaded to the cloud, where fare calculation and life cycle management, including all financial transactions, are centralized.


The Alliance is focusing on creating solutions for both gated and non-gated ticketing systems, defining the required interfaces among the members of the ecosystem for granting access for travel, fare calculation, payment, and settlement. It will create an ecosystem that stimulates innovation and interoperability of the solution across multiple vendors and transport ticketing systems. This will enhance service delivery and accelerate the adoption of solutions and technologies that optimize the mobile ticketing experience.

Meeting the challenges of existing solutions

Existing ticketing solutions and so-called standards have not succeeded in enabling true

  • First, the mobile phone relies on a physical secure element to be present either as an embedded chip or removable element, yet the secure element on the mobile phone is not owned or managed by current stakeholders in the public transport value chain. Therefore, getting access to the secure element has proven difficult to the transport ticketing schemes.
  • Second, the current solutions are not standardized and depend on specific and proprietary hardware. Consequently, there is no interoperability between the systems. This extends to interoperability between gated and non-gated systems, and between mobile and card or paper-based ticketing systems already in use.
  • Existing mobile ticketing solutions under utilize the advantages of open payment systems, providing further opportunities for optimizing operating costs.

OMTA Objectives:

  • Define use cases for the new mobile ticketing solution
  • Describe roles and processes needed for an end-to-end implementation of the solution
  • Define requirements for the solution using an NFC-enabled  mobile phone for both gated and non-gated ticketing systems
  • Define the required interfaces among the different parties for granting access for travel, fare calculation, payment and settlement
  • Ensure interoperability of the solution across multiple vendors and transport ticketing systems
  • Pilot and promote open mobile ticketing solution globally
  • Agree on the terms for further licensing the specifications