(ECNS) -- The Beijing Subway officially launched the smartphone Yikatong, or public transit prepaid smart card, on Monday, following its pilot use on the Fangshan route, Beijing Youth Daily reports.
Unlike the ordinary Yikatong, the new one requires no deposit and supports refunding. It allows passengers to swipe their smartphones to check in or out of subway stations.
According to the report, 160 NFC (Near Field Communication)-compatible smartphones, including Xiaomi, Huawei and Samsung, support the new service, which is already operational in Beijing's bus system.
iPhones users, however, will not be able to use the service until Apple Inc opens its NFC access to China's public transport sector.
Under the one-month Fangshan pilot program in June, the number of newly opened smartphone Yikatong accounts reached 200,000, while the number of daily transactions averaged 200,000, up 200 percent from May and accounting for about 2 percent of the subway system's daily total, said the Yikatong company.
In order to improve its service, the subway company expanded the program to cover all routes. Passengers can obtain detailed information and instructions about the service at 274 subway stations.
Beijing Subway operates 15 transit routes, which handle daily traffic of nearly 10 million passengers. The new service may help ease queuing at subway stations, the report said.