Bluestone signs Bahamian digital ID agreement with biometric payment option
Bahamas-based digital ID firm Bluestone Labs has entered a six-year contract with the country’s Unified Public Transportation Co. (UPTC) to implement a new payment system utilizing digital ID for public transportation.
The system will work with the nation’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) and biometric payments support.
It will debut on the island of New Providence and is expected to be installed on 220 buses running 40 routes and transporting 60,000 to 90,000 passengers per day.
The UPTC jitney pass will be available to travelers via a new transit feature within Bluestone’s mobile app, available on both Android and iOS devices.
According to a UPTC statement, the app will allow advanced routing for bus trips, real-time notifications for parents monitoring children’s journeys and emergency-reporting capabilities.
“The UPTC jitney pass is a great example of how digital identity can improve public transportation systems,” Bluestone Labs CEO John Bridgewater said in a prepared statement.
Bluestone and UPTC say cash payments will be phased out in favor of digital payments, QR codes, and value tap cards relying on the Bahamas’ CBDC, the Sand Dollar.
Biometrics-authorized payment will also be reportedly supported. And while Bluestone partnered with Trueface to biometrically identify Hurricane Dorian victims in 2019, it is unclear if UPTC will rely on Trueface for the new bus system. Biometric Update has reached out to UPTC to ask for clarifications on the matter.
“Using The Bahamas’ CBDC, Sand Dollar, we expect to drastically increase the volume of Sand Dollars in current circulation from $300k to roughly $18m yearly,” Bridgewater said. “This is currently on par with the Chinese digital e-CNY retail rollout.”
UPTC President Harrison Moxey said, “The digital bus system will greatly improve the public transportation experience, decongesting traffic and eventually lead to more local adoption amongst our school children, parents, and visitors, and we look forward to the positive impact it will have on our community.”
UPTC said the project will begin during the first quarter of 2023.