Account-based Fare Collection: The Modeshift Way

Account-based Fare Collection: The Modeshift Way

When we started working on Modeshift, we knew we wanted to get one thing right from the first time: simple yet powerful account-based ticketing that works for everyone. During the past decade, many cities converted to account-based and saw the beauty of this system. But what exactly is it, why does it matter for smart cities, and most importantly – how is it going to help your city? Today, we’ll discuss the answers to these questions with real-life examples from the Modeshift Account-based Fare Collection platform!

In this article:

What is account-based ticketing?

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll use a real-life example of how someone might use public transit.

Imagine a passenger has an NFC card on them and they use it daily to commute. In the media-based scenario, the information is stored on the media itself (personal details, tickets and passes). For example, when they validate onboard a vehicle with their card, the validator deducts from their card the necessary charges and only then transmits the data to an on-prem server. This often happens with significant delays as the vehicle has to be in the depot for a Wi-Fi connection to be established.

In an account-based system, information is stored securely in a back office in the cloud. Each time the passenger taps to validate, the validator transmits the necessary information via 3G to the back office where all the data is handled in real time. What’s more, riders can sync all their validation media and have their account information, tickets and passes handy at all times.

This doesn’t seem like much of a difference from the perspective of the passenger but means a lot to the agency. How?

The benefits of account-based ticketing

We promised that we will use real-life examples to show you how it works. And here we go!

Account-based ticketing is media-agnostic

Modeshift Fare Collection doesn’t depend on a specific media that riders need to have on them when they travel. They can use an NFC card (as already illustrated), but they can also choose to use their mobile phone. Or their smartwatch. Or EMV. If they forget their card at home, they don’t need to worry they won’t be able to travel! All they need to do is enable their preferred validation token by logging into their account. It’s all there – their passes and tickets, their trip history…

Passengers can decide which validation token is their favorite. What’s important is that they will never be left wondering how to validate as long as they have access to their account.

Account-based ticketing enables mobile ticketing

If the pandemic taught us one thing, it was that contactless is always better. With the vast majority of people currently using smartphones, mobile ticketing is a step towards reducing virus transmission risk onboard public transit vehicles. By giving them this opportunity, agencies are also giving them a powerful tool to manage their transit needs. The proof? In one of our most recent launches (Lancaster PA), we got 30% mobile app adoption in less than 4 weeks.

Modeshift Fare Collection comes with a smart app that beats them all – it’s the most streamlined app out there, with a clean and minimalistic design aimed at boosting adoption rates even among people who are not that tech-savvy. The app can be configured to include both mobile ticketing (all fare modes and types of validations) and convenient route planning functionalities.

Account-based ticketing reduces operational costs

While many people still prefer using tickets and cards, the past year proved that contactless ticketing, backed up by account-based ticketing, is gaining more and more popularity as it’s more hygienic. This is a validation media that’s practically free for the agency/operator. Remember that because this is not the only way the agency can cut its costs thanks to account-based ticketing!

Account-based ticketing provides riders with flexibility

Riders are able to pick their preferred validation method from a vast variety of validation media as shown above, and even mix and match according to their preferences. Riders can also benefit from discounts for multimodal trips, combined tickets, distance-based fares and more – this is really up to the operator’s needs and imagination.

Account-based ticketing helps agencies gather valuable insights

Modeshift Fare Collection provides a feature-rich back office that not only lets agencies easily manage fare policies and their passengers’ accounts, but also provides a pool of valuable data. This data can help them optimize the system to put more focus on certain fares, retire others, etc. Another benefit that helps reduce costs!

Account-based ticketing makes agency life easier

From quickly redefining fares and managing accounts to exporting reports in a single click, Modeshift Fare Collection makes it easier for agency staff to do their day-to-day jobs. We created the back office dashboard with usability in mind!

Account-based ticketing is hardware agnostic

Modeshift Fare Collection works with 90% of the available hardware. This means the agency or operator doesn’t have to switch to a new hardware solution if they already have their own validators. And if they don’t – we can help!

Account-based ticketing is the basis of MaaS

MaaS (Mobility as a Service) is coming to more and more cities. Integrating a variety of mobility services in one app is only possible for services based on an open API such as Modeshift Fare Collection. Public transit, light rail, e-scooters, bike shares, parking – everything can be managed with a single app making it easier for passengers to create the best trip possible and even save money.

Modeshift Fare Collection is ready to be integrated within an existing MaaS ecosystem or can serve as the focal point for building a new one.

Account-based fare collection is a great fit for cities of all sizes

Modeshift Fare Collection is a solution specifically designed to fit transit systems of all sizes. Most big tech providers can’t cater to the specific needs of small or mid-sized cities, and this is where we come in. No matter the number of lines, buses or ridership levels, we work closely with the agency to provide the most adequate service.

Let’s take you on a tour around the Modeshift Fare Collection Back Office

What’s it like to work with Modeshift? It’s easy. We made sure it is!

The Modeshift System’s Back Office

First off, we have the Dashboard – a user-friendly space where agency staff can see the sales charts at a glance, check validation and inspection data, and monitor trips and driver records.

This Dashboard is a valuable tool for CFO’s and CEO’s who don’t have a lot of time but want to stay informed about the current stats.

Adjusting fares is easy!

Next up, we enter the Fares tab – a virtual transit “shop” where all data about current fare rules, promotions, customer groups and other product-related information is stored. It’s easy to define new products and push them to your retail network with the click of a button.

Create and manage customer groups in the Accounts tab

Accounts is the tab where customer data lives. Staff can quickly find any rider if needed for support reasons, and check their products and validation history, manually recharge an account or update information.

User Management is where each member of the staff is assigned a specific role. Depending on that role, they can access different parts of the system so everyone works only with what they need for their day-to-day activities.

Get a quick overview or detailed reports in the Reports tab

Finally, there’s the Reports tab where staff can see the magic of account-based ticketing in real time. Sales, ridership, maintenance – it’s all there, ready to be exported to NTD (National Transit Database) and used for optimizations and reporting.

Modeshift Fare Collection is based on a SaaS model

We know that financing is tricky – this is why we thought of a way to help agencies and operators get past that obstacle on their way to innovation. SaaS (Software as a Service) is a pay-as-you-go model where you pay a monthly fee and get the package that best suits the business. Or, in the presence of available funding, the product can be purchased up-front with a discount.

Apart from our core product, Modeshift Fare Collection, we offer a variety of add-ons such as CAD/AVL, RTPI and more. We will discuss them in more detail here on the blog very soon!

Modeshift Fare Collection is a product we worked hard to build from scratch – our team endured countless sleepless nights, traveled the globe to provide the best service, and made sure we learn as we go so we’re always doing the best for our customers. Adoption rate is our metric of choice to measure success – and we’re killing it.

If you want to become part of the Modeshift family, we’ll be happy to hear from you. Contact us today!