French train riders get USB drives as tickets, won't ever have to swipe a card

French public transportation company SNCF is getting 1,000 customers to help it test an RFID-enabled smart card that's also a USB drive, known as the Weneo ID Smart. It's a push by SNCF to expand its contactless payment system, and would allow customers to plug their train passes into a PC at home. There they could add money to their account, avoiding the rush at the station to dump money onto a card as the train is pulling away (something we're very familiar with here in New York City). On the train, the fare would be deducted from the card either by an RFID reader or by an attendant with a handheld tool.

Depending on the program's success, SNCF may try to have all their customers using the system by 2010. The closest thing we have to it here in the States are bank promotions that allow you to marry your metro card with your bank account. Then again, Europe isn't as train-retarded as the US, where cross-country trains are barely used, save for some commercial interests.

RFID Journal, via The Raw Feed