Author: Ana Stanca
Demand Generation Leader, Enghouse Transportation
According to the American Public Transportation Association, transit ridership remains at only 60% of pre-pandemic levels. With work-from-home and hybrid working arrangements moving from being an emergency measure to a permanent arrangement, many bus and light-rail commuters are riding less frequently.
Given these trends, it’s vital that operators find ways to deliver a more responsive and easier-to-access service if they’re to win back old riders and attract new ones.
Simple payment methods
A key means by which rider experience and transport accessibility can be improved is by allowing consumers to purchase access to transit with their own cards, debit cards and smartphones.
This removes the need for riders to negotiate a transit agency’s proprietary payment system. To board the transport, all they need to do is tap and pay with their chosen payment method.
It’s a simple change that can make all the difference. It also allows people to use transit more spontaneously. They can hop on and off all day with relative ease, giving them greater freedom and flexibility. This raises the relative value of transit in relation to the private car, making it a more attractive option.
Any strategy to rebuild transit passenger numbers will have simple payments as a critical component.
Why Open Loop Ticketing is the answer
Open Loop Ticketing is the future of mobile ticketing. It uses bank-issued credit or debit cards on the EMV standard (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) standard, as well as NFC-capable cards and mobile apps such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
The key to this system is in the name. It’s essentially an open system that provides maximum flexibility when paying for transit. Open Loop Ticketing can be used alongside other innovations that, taken together, can revolutionize how transit is accessed.
Account-Based Ticketing allows rider data to be securely stored in a back-office server, with fares calculated based on the specific criteria the transit agency demands. Instead of purchasing a monthly pass upfront, they can pay as they go for rides without ever being charged more than the cost of a monthly pass.
Contactless technologies let customers pay by tapping a validator with their phone or bank card as they enter a station or vehicle. Ticketing and payments can also be embedded into transit system apps allowing riders to purchase tickets to add to their accounts on their phones.
Modular, open-API fare systems are a vital component of building toward MaaS, an integrated mobility model that allows travellers to plan, execute, and pay for a multimodal trip seamlessly on one digital platform.
The transition to open-loop ticketing is actually less daunting than many agencies imagine, and new open-loop solutions feature more flexibility and lower ongoing operational costs compared to legacy ticketing systems.
Want to find out more?
To learn more about the transition to modern, open-loop payments systems and the benefits they can deliver, read our whitepaper: A Transit Agency Roadmap for Mobile Payment Solutions.