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QR Codes Used in Ottawa’s Transit System


In Ottawa, Canada, passengers are now seeing QR codes on their tickets.

The QR codes are printed on every transfer so that passengers can just scan the QR codes themselves when they board the bus rather than show it to the driver.

This would certainly help in making boarding faster and gives the driver less work.

In the future, the transit committee says that these QR codes could also be used to direct passengers to a Web site where they can buy tickets when they need to.

In Canada, the use of such as system is groundbreaking. Ottawa is the first city to use the QR codes. Toronto and Montreal still have not adopted the QR codes for their own transport systems.

Admittedly, the system is not perfect, but it is still being used even if it is not tested yet. Not a few people are voicing their concerns, but the transit committee seems bent on using the QR codes.

And why not? Apart from the convenience, it gives both the passengers and the drivers, plus the potential to use the QR codes for mobile ticketing and other uses, there is also the cost savings.

The committee reported that a magnetic card costs $0.25 to make, while these QR code transfer slip costs only $0.04 to print. That effectively cuts the costs by more than 75%! The committee also indicates that the printing of these QR code do not require any additional equipment. They can make print the QR codes on transfer paper, using equipment they already have.

They can also source the QR code readers with no problems. In fact, because these readers have fewer parts, they see less problems working with it.

Using QR codes for transport systems is nothing new. We have seen it used for mobile payments in taxis, ticketing systems on buses and trains. We think that the move of Ottawa’s transit committee to push through with the new QR code system is a good thing. It might be untested but it does save money. The kinks can easily be ironed out in the next few days.

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