The idea to use a credit card system for public services was adopted by the Reykjavik City Council in 2002. The company behind the system, Smart Cards, agreed to develop the system, but whilst the city council and Straeto bus network have been busy paying for salaries, equipment and other implementation costs, it seems unlikely that they will be able to see a return for their investment after Smart Cards recently declared itself bankrupt.
Straeto’s managing director told Frettabladid that, “Straetó is not supposed to be responsible for developing or operating such equipment. If we can’t reach an agreement with private parties who see business opportunities in this, we’ll discard the system.”
Reykjavik City was also looking into the possibility of using the smart cards to provide free public transportation to high school and university students but with the problems and delays currently experienced with the program, the idea may be too expensive to implement.
As Thorbjörg Helga Vigfúsdóttir, the city’s representative on the board of Straetó, pointed out, the system has already cost the residents of Reykjavik a great deal.