A new smart card system to be adapted by Reykjavík City and Reykjavík Buses (Straetó bs.) to pay for bus fares, trips to the swimming pool and other services, may not be used after all. Developing the system hast cost about ISK 0.5 billion (USD 8.2 million, EUR 6.0 million).
Smart cards are a type of credit card containing a microchip. Reykjavík City Council had agreed in 2002 to adopt the cards and Straetó bought smart card readers. But Smart Cards, the company that was in charge of developing the cards, went bankrupt.
“Straetó is not supposed to be responsible for developing or operating such equipment,” managing director of Straetó Reynir Jónsson told Fréttabladid. “If we can’t reach an agreement with private parties who see business opportunities in this, we’ll discard the system.”
Reykjavík City and Straetó have shared the cost of developing the system, paying salaries, maintaining the equipment, installing the system etc. Thorbjörg Helga Vigfúsdóttir, the city’s representative on the board of Straetó, said the system has cost Reykjavík citizens too much.
Reykjavík City is investigating the possibility of offering high school students and university students in the capital region free bus rides using the smart card system, but it may prove too costly.