Hoplink is a Calypso application dedicated to interoperability.
It is based on a very simple principle:
- The portable object (card, SIM card, USB key, etc.) is interoperable; it means that the customer may use it in all transport networks which are Hoplink members.
- The transport titles and contracts remain specific, and are not shared between the different operators; it means that Hoplink requires no clearing system between them.
Consequently, Hoplink is very simple to implement.
Hoplink answers mainly to two needs:
- Interoperability between two different tariff areas (2 regions for example) for regular users.
- Interoperability for occasional users who spend a few days in a city or a region.
Hoplink is a Calypso application within the portable object, beside the local application which is used daily for public transport ticketing by the customer. The specificity of Hoplink application is that the secure keys are shared between all operators which are Hoplink members (personalization, reloading and validation keys). Consequently, all the Hoplinkoperators may use the Hoplink application to register and validate their own tickets in the portable object of the customer.
Of course, it requires the operators to strictly respect some mandatory rules, in term of security requirements and also limited functional requirements, particularly not to delete a valid transport title from another operator.
Each operator Hoplink member decides which transport titles are offered to the customer through the Hoplink application. For example, he may decide to limit them to titles for occasional users, such as single tickets, one-day tickets, etc. and to interregional tickets, etc.
A Hoplink customer case
In order to better understand how it works, let’s take a concrete example of a customer using the possibilities of Hoplink.
“I live in the Brussels area, and I am a daily user of public transport in this city, taking the train from SNCB and the metro from STIB. So I have a MOBIB card, the unified card for all transport networks in Belgium. Of course, my monthly season ticket within my MOBIB card is accepted by both SNCB and STIB (it is tariff interoperable).
All MOBIB cards include a Hoplink application; so I know that I can use my personal MOBIB card in all other transport networks which are Hoplink members.
I have to go to Lille, in France, for 3 days, and I know that Lille is a Hoplink member: I go to Lille, free of mind, with my MOBIB card; in the Lille station, I go directly to a ticket machine, take my Mobib card and reload it with a 3 days ticket of Lille transport. This ticket is registered within the Hoplink application; of course it is accepted on all Lille validators.
It avoids me having to buy a specific media for my ticket and makes really my trip easier.”
With the new possibilities offered by the distant reloading systems on Internet or on mobile phones, the Hoplink service may be much better, offering a really seamless solution for the customer. Let’s again take the same example:
“Rather than buy my Lille ticket at a vending machine in the Lille station, I prefer to prepare my trip in Brussels: I connect on the Internet to the reloading web site of Lille, and, with my MOBIB card connected to my computer, I buy and load in the Hoplink area the 3 days Lille ticket. It avoids me having to waste time when arriving at the Lille station, to look for the vending machine, or to make a queue.”
Find all technical description of Hoplink, and particularly all the security mechanisms, in the Hoplink Specifications document.
Below is the typical representation of the file organization of a card with local and Hoplink applications.