Gone are the days of fair collectors asking to see your paper ticket on the train. One Swedish train company is offering passengers the option of being microchipped by having a biometric chip implanted into their hand.
Swedish railway company SJ has become the first travel company to trial microchip implants. This innovative method might seem straight out of a sci-fi film, but being microchipped apparently doesn’t concern Swedes.
The microchipped tickets are embedded into the hand and rely on near-field communication; the same technology that powers Apple Pay. Thus allowing for train fair collectors to scan the passengers’ ticket and information. So far, between 2,500 and 3,000 individuals have already received microchip implants. In fact, SJ says that it was their business travellers who first suggested the idea, citing convenience as the main appeal.
Though the thought of being implanted is likely unsettling to some, SJ public relations officer Stephan Ray says, “[We] see a future society free of keys, cards and paper to a great extent. It’s a smarter and hopefully a more sustainable society.”
Customers buy tickets normally via the website or mobile app, and their membership number, which is the reference code for the ticket that’s linked to their chip. There are still some kinks to be ironed out though. Some passengers’ LinkedIn profiles were appearing instead of their train tickets when conductors scanned their chip.
Reaction to the idea has been largely positive according to SJ, although some security issues have been raised.
“Of course there’s mixed reactions. Some people are concerned with the privacy issue and that’s something we take really seriously. Some people are confused and think they can be tracked via microchip; but if that’s something they’re worried about, they should be more concerned by their mobile phone and credit card use. You can already be tracked in many different ways other than a microchip.”
The SJ trial will undoubtedly face more hurdles before going full-scale. However, for those brave enough to get an implant inserted into their hand, the time they save not standing in ticketing lines may be worth it. Watch a video showcasing SJ’s futuristic ticketing system below.
Microchipped ticket implants for SJ commuters
Are you willing to be microchipped? Is this technology the future or another way of monitoring people? Share your thoughts below or on social media.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.