New Tarjeta Transporte Público: Smart ticketing comes to Madrid public transport


  • Updated20 August 2013
  • News

In early May of 2012, the Consorcio Regional de Trasportes de
Madrid (CRTM) launched the new Tarjeta Transporte Público
(Public Transport Card). It is the contactless card that supports
transport tickets issued by the CRTM for the whole public
transport system in Madrid region.

The new card has a size and appearance similar to a credit card,
and its goal is to replace the magnetic stripe tickets that were
currently used in public transport. In fact, it is estimated that
along 2013, 1,500,000 users within Madrid Region shift from
the old Transport Pass to the new Tarjeta Transporte Público.

new card shows the holder´s name, a photograph and a personal
identification number, so it is a personal and non-transferable
card that expires 7 years after its date of issue. The card records
in its internal memory the holder´s personal characteristics (age, belonging to a group with special discounts) without being
necessary changing or renewing of the card in case of those
have been modified, because they will be updated automatically
(as it is the case of age), or will be updated with its accreditation
at a Public Transport Card Administration Office (in the case of
belonging to numerous family or having a disability).


The new CRTM ticketing system based on a contactless card
technology (DesFire EV1) has been designed and specified by the
CRTM itself, so the Institution has a full control of the applications
and the security infrastructure. In addition, the whole information
generated by the system, i.e. customising, validation, inspection,
charge/recharge, is processed in CRTM.

The CRTM, without intermediary, prepares all chips containing
master keys, allowing authentication with the system, through
SAM (Secure Access Module) or HSMs (Hardware Security
Modules). The CRTM has been a pioneer in the use and custom
design of HSMs systems in public transportation. This approach
and technology make the new Tarjeta Transporte Público one of
the most secure in Europe.

Moreover, the new card offers significant security advantages.
For example, data can not be erased when the card contact with
mobile phones or any other magnetic field as with the former
magnetic Transport Pass. It integrates all the information in a
centralized server, thus control and processing of the system
allows CRTM to provide innovative services. For example, it is
possible to transfer the initial card balance to another one in the
event of its loss or theft, thus the initial card is inactivated into
the system, preventing any fraudulent use, and allowing the user
to retrieve the remaining days of the missed card.

Among the advantages of the new card, could be highlighted
that the Transport Pass charged on the card has a period of
validity of 30 consecutive calendar days as from their first use.
This allows users to plan their purchase according to their needs,
which will result in significant savings for them. In the other
hand, information about the use of the card is stored on a
central server, what will improve the knowledge of the mobility
within the Region. In addition, the new contactless card will save
more than 150,000 kilos of paper in the next 5 years and 30%
in operating costs and maintenance of lathes.

The implementation of the new card has been gradual, starting
with Zone A (capital city) for later continuing in the other areas
and zones of the metropolitan and regional rings. It is expected
that by the end of 2013 the cards can contain up to three different
types of tickets, but in this first stage you can charge only the
Transport Pass for Madrid City (Zone A).


CRTM is continuously evolving the system, so that is working on
new channels of ticketing and cards recharging, in this respect,
very soon in ATMs (banking cash dispensers), internet and NFC.

Contact: Carlos Cristobal-Pinto