Demonstrating once again that transit may be the best incubator for mobile payments, commuters on Florence's public buses now have a mobile payment option.

ATAF, the Florentine bus company, announced a new program launched in conjunction with Ericsson IPX that lets riders buy bus tickets using SMS messages.

To use the system, riders send a text message to a special short code before boarding the bus. In a few moments, an electronic "ticket" is sent back. The rider then simply shows the driver the code when boarding the bus.

ATAF said it's the first Italian transit company to offer this type of payment method. The service is currently available to subscribers of Italian wireless carriers TIM, Vodafone and Wind and will soon be available to customers of 3 Italy.

For more stories on this subject, visit the Bill Payment research center. 

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