Transit agencies across the globe are facing new and unprecedented challenges – from the need to implement more hygienic solutions to the need to increase ridership and help reduce the ecological footprint of a city. Technology plays a big role in the optimization processes of major cities, and public transit is a major area where innovative technology solutions can materially affect change. One of the quickest and most efficient ways to strengthen a city’s transit technology is by adding mobile ticketing – a smart technology that is becoming more ubiquitous each day in the United States. Let’s learn more about mobile ticketing and why it has such a strong positive impact on transit agencies!
What is mobile ticketing for public transportation?
Mobile ticketing is a platform that allows riders to pay for their fare through a phone.
This platform is capable of more than just providing a digital ticket, but at its core, it is a very simple solution. The majority of people commuting daily already have a smartphone in their hands – a smartphone can be the key to your home, your bank account information, social media connections, and most riders are now carrying some smart device on them at all times.
By integrating mobile ticketing, a transit agency can cut the spending on purchase and maintenance of expensive validators. Mobile ticketing can be integrated with already available equipment, or even from scratch. Deployment is quick and painless, and can even be done remotely.
But how exactly does mobile ticketing work? The short version: a rider pays in the app for their ticket then shows that ticket to the driver, or validates it with some type of hardware. There are many validation options and routes that can be taken, below are a few:
How does mobile ticketing help improve the public transit experience?
Paying through your phone is being used at coffee shops, stores, and even parking meters. People now see the ability to pay via their phone as a standard option. Upgrading fare collection is one of the best options to move towards a smarter future, and the ways in which mobile ticketing can help revamp user experience are more than obvious:
- Simplicity: You can seamlessly tuck in mobile fare payments between a social media session and a call with a loved one. No need to search for cash or take out a pass.
- Accessibility: The various options for mobile fare collection discussed above provide great flexibility for everyone: from tourists and occasional riders to low-income communities and people with disabilities. Unbanked people can also take advantage of this technology via third party options to load their balance. Being able to provide more accessibility to people who have been left out of innovation so far is an amazing opportunity to improve the fare ratio.
- Multi-modal options: Mobile ticketing can be integrated into a multi-modal transit system to provide greater efficiency. A combined ticket for a whole ride, no matter which type of transportation is selected, is a great way to incentivise riders to use public transit. What’s more, mobile ticketing can also be integrated with trip planning to provide a single app that does it all – from beginning to end.
- Scalability: The flexibility of mobile ticketing systems means public transit agencies can grow with the needs of the city. These needs can be monitored closely via the aggregated data the agency receives from the mobile ticketing app.
Can you integrate mobile technology into existing transit operations?
Yes! Mobile ticketing can be integrated in any fare collection system, serving as an additional layer of usability for riders. Existing validators can be reused; smartphones can also be used by transit inspectors for validation purposes.
A trend that’s here to stay
While mobile ticketing is a relatively new technology, inspiring implementations are already paving the way towards its global adoption. With nearly all Americans using at least one mobile device, implementing smart city solutions such as mobile ticketing will be the way to move forward into the future, creating a better environment for citizens – reducing the ecological footprint via increased public transit usage and reduced paper ticket usage, creating a safer and healthier environment for riders and drivers, and optimizing the whole transit system based on aggregated data. It’s a future we would love to see, and one we are actively involved in!