Mobile ticketing is becoming the norm – maybe more slowly than we hoped it would, but still. The gigantic step some agencies took during the pandemic sped up the adoption process and now, with millions pouring into the transit sector under President Biden’s wing, we hope to finally see a shift in the industry. A shift from thinking that mobile ticketing is ‘nice to have but not necessary’ to a mindset that clearly sees not having it as a disadvantage. Today, let’s focus on the love story between mobile ticketing and seamless user experience, the driving force behind this urban mobility innovation.
What are the benefits of mobile ticketing in urban environments?
Mobile ticketing is certainly having its day – but why? To begin with, it is hygienic. This was one of its main advantages during the pandemic, and one of the reasons why so many transit agencies made the step to implement it. But that’s not all there is. Mobile ticketing is intuitive and easy to use. Created to complement an ongoing digitalization in the industry, it provided the missing link between riders and agencies.
Big cities are hectic – and tech-savvy citizens will do anything in their power to ease their lives and simplify their routines. Enter mobile ticketing. The innovation that allowed them not only to buy tickets on the fly but also validate more easily on board public transit vehicles.
We are so used to having mobile phones in our hands while we travel – to check on friends on social media, to read the news, or listen to a favorite urban mobility podcast. So why not use them to get on public transit as well?
So, let’s summarize the benefits both agencies and riders get from mobile ticketing:
What are the benefits for the agency?
- Free fare media: no paper tickets, no smart cards. Operational expenditure is cut to a minimum as mobile ticketing systems do not require any additional material input from the agency – it’s basically free.
- High level of security: data is protected via several layers of security. Payments need to be PCI/DCC compliant, data is anonymized.
- Improvements and upgrades on the go: the engineering teams work behind the scenes and only when upgrades are ready – they are pushed to the live system, remotely. Gone are the days when an upgrade meant manual replacement of equipment!
- Data collection: the agency gathers a stunning amount of data that can be utilized for improvements of the system on a regular basis. Real-time data streams make the dispatchers’ lives easier, while analysts can dig in a treasure trove of spreadsheets full of details on validations, usage, payments, and more – all anonymized and ready to be used.
What are the benefits for the riders?
- One application for all things transit: plan, buy tickets, validate. With modern mobile ticketing apps like Modeshift’s, riders no longer need to switch between apps to manage their trips. Intuitive interfaces and state-of-the-art user experience ensure a seamless process riders can forget about – a true sign of a well-functioning service!
- Real-time information: mobile ticketing apps can serve as digital signage with public transit schedules in riders’ pockets. Information that is always at their fingertips and helps them plan their days better.
- Contactless and hygienic: provides a way to avoid touching money and equipment. Even in the post-pandemic era, riders would prefer not to handle dirty banknotes and coins.
- Provides options for dynamic pricing and fare equity: riders can now have more pricing options and more ways to save money while riding the public transit system. This incentivizes more users to join.
- Provides better customer experience: each rider can have a secure, personal account that is easy to retrieve by a customer service agent. This means that if there is an issue with a payment or validation, it only takes a minute to sort it out.
Mobile ticketing for a seamless user experience: it’s all about freedom of choice
When it comes to user experience, people love having more options – and transit agencies can now give them options to suit every lifestyle. We know that there will always be paper ticket die-hards and cash-only users, but now, tech-savvy riders can have one more layer of comfort by choosing mobile ticketing. This gives them the option to use their account in a multitude of digital ways: topping up via the app or a web portal, making their pass and fare purchases in-app, validating with the app or using a connected smart card (why not even their smartwatch?).
Everyone is different, and every rider has different needs when it comes to public transit. Just like some people prefer to sometimes take the scenic route and not the shortest one, some also prefer to use a different fare media depending on the situation. With a robust account-based system and active mobile ticketing, they now have that option. This adds a whole new layer of convenience to the journey. But in order for it to maximize its potential, the mobile ticketing solution should be easy to use and reliable – user experience is what sets a good app from a bad one.
Safer transit with contactless payments
As we already mentioned, the pandemic laid bare the need for more hygienic ways to travel. Many agencies resorted to free fares and are still trying to get back on track. The more forward-thinking ones used the pandemic to make the jump from paper to digital – just like our customers at SCTA, PA.
With mobile ticketing and contactless EMV payments, riders do not need to handle cash. They have recognized this convenience and are embracing their newly found freedom. As for validations, they happen quickly and easily, taking less than a second. The riders simply need to scan the QR code generated by their app at the onboard validator and they’re ready to go. Apart from being hygienic, this also saves time and helps transit run on schedule. Dwell times are reduced, and drivers can focus on their job better.
In a nutshell
Deciding on a new fare collection provider is not easy. One of the first things to consider is whether their solution comes with mobile ticketing and whether their mobile ticketing provides a great user experience. This is as important as it gets in an era when riders expect the best of user experience, every day and on every ride. The best automated fare collection provider will be the one that offers an entire urban mobility platform in one neat package – not to brag, but we do that (and more). Let us know what your needs are and let’s jump on a call to discuss how to move your city’s transit system into the future!