Honest passengers first! Beijing subway to pilot credit-based fast entry system
Published: Mar 10, 2021 05:25 PM

A Beijing subway station tests a facial recognition system on July 25. Photo: IC

A Beijing subway station tests a facial recognition system. Photo: IC

Beijing's subway is mulling exempting people with good credit records from mandatory security checks as part of its new smart measures to speed up city commuters' flow of entry into the subway.

Beijing subway is expected to pilot the new measure based on passengers' credit scores, according to a municipal government report on the city's traffic. 

With this system, passengers carrying small bags can enter the subway station directly without going through security checks.

The Global Times found that Beijing's Fuchengmen subway station has already adopted this system in 2019 on a pilot run, the only place in the capital to use this new method.

Passengers can apply for a quick pass through the Yitongxing APP on the phone and have their faces scanned when they enter the subway station, a staff member with the Beijing Subway publicity department told the Global Times on condition of anonymity on Wednesday. The staff member said that the fast entry system using passengers' credit is still undergoing discussion and in its testing phase.

City commuters who have gone through the subway more than 10 times can apply for a quick pass online. Applicants will have to go through a facial recognition procedure first and submit an application for approval via the APP. 

Some experts believe that using this facial recognition technology supported by the credit system can bring convenience to city commuters and ease the long queues of passengers in some subway stations. 

Wang Jianjin, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), had also suggested establishing a white list of passengers who will be exempted from inspection or random checks, and a disciplinary system for dishonest behavior.

The weekday passenger flow of the Beijing subway is about 12 million, according to data before the COVID-19 outbreak. Passenger traffic congestion is concentrated in the morning and evening peak hours for two hours.

Anyone who enters the Beijing subway currently has to pass a security check and a ticket gate. 

Launching this system in the entire Beijing subway system could still be difficult as the credit system in China as a basic infrastructure has not yet been perfectly established, and data across many departments is not sharable, Zhu Tao, a professor from the Beijing University of Technology, told the Global Times. Zhu also expressed his concerns over the risks of personal information leaks in the large-scale application of a credit system and facial recognition technology.