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THOUGHT: Deutsche Bahn's MMS Railway Ticket System
Posted by Arne Hess - on Monday, 28.04.08 - 08:27:20 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 14509x
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I've mentioned Deutsche Bahn's (DB) MMS Ticket some time ago but last weekend, I finally had the chance to test it. As a matter of fact, I was at at my parents and the printer was out of order. This means, I wasn't able to order my ticket over the Internet to print it at home on the PC. However, without a ticket, you cannot make a seat reservation and it's always a good idea to have a seat reservation on German InterCityExpress (ICE) because the German high-speed train can be pretty overcrowded and since I wanted a seat with a table in the mobile phone area, I had to reserve a seat. But what to do if the printer is kaput? Use the mobile phone instead and I remembered my previous article here.

Unfortunately you cannot use the DB MMS ticket straight from your mobile phone but you have to register first from a PC which wasn't a problem because I had my HTC Shift with me anyway. So after I've created a DB account, I searched for the proper train connection on the PC. After I've logged into my DB account from my Samsung Windows Mobile Smartphone, selected the same train I found before and booked the ticket over HSDPA with the MMS ticket option.

Just seconds after I confirmed the order, I've received a MMS which included the ticket as 2D code as well as the train and my seat information:


That's it and I was ready to go. Next day, I left Frankfurt on my way to Munich and I was quite curious how this whole MMS ticket thing might works. DB said in its terms and conditions that I need the MMS as well as a Credit Card for identification (makes sense - otherwise you can share the MMS with your friends) but I had no real idea how it might work.
Well, DV train conductors are well equipped and they carry a mobile terminal, with scanner and Credit Card slot. First the train conductor, which wasn't surprised to see my mobile phone instead of a paper ticket, typed something on his terminal, asked me to turn on the backlight of my screen display, scanned the barcode and swiped my Credit Card through his terminal. Done.

Now that was easy. While the train conductor wasn't surprised at all, the fellow passengers around me were quite interested and irritated so I explained some of them what we did.

Definitely a handy and useful service. No more paper tickets and printing, no more forgetting a ticket (I rarely forget my smartphone at home) and a quite interesting idea what you can use MMS for. I definitely liked how easy it was working and I'm sure it wasn't the last time I've used Deutsche Bahn's MMS Ticket service.

Cheers ~ Arne


 
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Comments
Posted by Lutz on 30.04.08 - 17:14:35

Tested something similar recently on my way to CES. Continental Airlines have the option to keep the electronic boarding pass ready for you at a certain web address. All you need to do is to show the page (or an image of it) to the scanner at security and at the gate. They don't need a credit card but the security check will ask for a photo ID.

Worked pretty well, although the barcode scanner at the gate took three attempts to read the code (maybe the ambient lighting wasn't optimal).

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