Motorola Inc. and its close ally, ERG Group of Australia, were awarded a $6.6 million contract for testing a smart card-based fare collection system on city buses in Groningen, the Netherlands.

More than 10,000 M-Smart dual-interface smart cards will be issued for a two-year trial involving about 80 buses. Additional applications such as parking could be added during the course of the trial, which is scheduled to begin in the second half of next year.

The smart card program, called Tripperpas, is expected eventually to replace paper ticketing systems throughout the Netherlands.

"The flexibility of Tripperpas will also allow integration with other ways of mobility, such as train, taxi and disabled transport," said Kees Arends, managing director of Arriva Netherlands, a subsidiary of a United Kingdom bus operator.

The Ministry of Transport, Public Works, and Water Management is funding the project.

A feasibility study on a smart card transportation program for the Netherlands was done by Motorola.

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