“Exact fare required, driver has NO change” - the opportunities of carrier billing in transportation ticketing

“Exact fare required, driver has NO change” - the opportunities of carrier billing in transportation ticketing

Recently I was travelling back from a vacation and had a longer layover in a major Asian airport. I wanted to go to the city for a while and made my way through the terminals to the train station. There it turned out I needed cash to buy the ticket and could withdraw it only from another terminal. Of course the ATM dispensed much bigger bills than were needed for the train fare. After some more orienteering and going back and forth, I was finally able to buy the tickets, but it sure was a memorable hassle.

Probably anyone who has arrived to a new city can relate to this situation - it might be late, you’re tired and grumpy, possibly jetlagged and just want to get to the hotel. You probably need to take the bus or the metro - maybe even both. Maybe you need cash for buying the ticket. Perhaps you even have to exchange currency.

Smooth transportation is not only a headache for the tourists, but for anyone trying to find their way in the city jungle day-to-day. (Public) transport is the lifeline of big cities and requirements are getting more and more complex. People’s rising mobility combined with the constant rise of urbanization all over the world puts great pressure on both the public and private sector for creative and innovative solutions. The United Nations expects that by 2030, over 60% of the global population will live in urban areas.

Transportation providers everywhere are working hard to offer solutions those and many other problems. Intelligent Transport Systems are becoming the integral part of the 21st century cities. ITS aims to achieve traffic efficiency by minimizing traffic problems. This requires cooperation between public and private sector with local transport authority administering the system and extensive data collected and analyzed from all transportation players.

At the same time alternative transportation methods like park-and-ride, car sharing and bike & scooter rentals (such as Mobike) are added to the mix. Shared mobility services are disrupting the personal car ownership and come especially handy in micro- to medium distance mobility. For example startups addressing short-distance transport, such as e-bikes and e-scooters are filling the gap of public transportation’s first- and last-mile-problem.

The craving for comfortable mobility options is evident. To tie these options together, you need a flexible, adaptable and diverse system to deliver seamless transportation experiences to the customers. This includes next generation mobile ticketing system, that offers attractive payment methods for both public transport, alternative methods and parking (EasyPark example).

For the transport ticketing market, the need for improvement is constant. The digitization of mass transit is changing the face of public transport as we know it. Ticketing and payment processes have to keep up but at the same time cloud-based technologies and data analytics opens up exciting new perspectives. Carrier billing commercial logic is exactly suited for microtransactions like the ones needed in parking or bus/train tickets. Both public and private transport players should consider the following points about mobile ticketing:

  • Cooperation between transport solutions: it’s important for both the customer convenience and for developing new processes more efficiently. It might be useful to establish so-called open standards to be shared by different service providers. Platform based solutions also optimize the infrastructure management and operational tasks

  • Speed of process: it offers both more convenience to the traveller and helps avoid rush hour jams by reduced queues and quicker throughput

  • Reduced administrative costs on physical tickets and in person customer service

  • Pay-as-you-go solutions: it will be possible to charge the client on the go, based on the variety of transportation means used and the actual distance/duration of the route taken

  • Personalized client experience: it enables to offer different fares based on the time of day, popularity of the certain departure and even client’s user behaviour, personal preferences and why not even personal occasions (birthday, first day of school for students, etc.)

For example Europe’s leading digital parking services provider EasyPark implemented Fortumo’s carrier billing platform in the Nordics (Norway, Finland, Sweden). Even in a highly developed region such as the Nordics, about a third to a half of adult population don’t have a credit card. Carrier billing solutions give the client a guaranteed payment access regardless of their bank card or cellphone type. It also allows the provider to communicate promotions or general customer awareness (for example urgent service failure information) through telco channels.

Carrier billing is already used extensively in public transportation in countries like Estonia. It’s an opportunity for the telcos to strengthen their mindshare with customers and their role as the main infrastructure for other services. The payments can also work via SMS and don’t require wifi, mobile data or downloading an app. This means faster service for anyone, including first/one-time users or people in a hurry - the client doesn’t have to sign up for any new accounts or wait in line for the ticketing booth. In fact, it removes the need for ticketing booths or customer service employees altogether, providing an easy self-service solution. It offers a comfortable pay-as-you-go model, expanding the availability and convenience of payments.

If you are looking for new ways to offer flexible payment methods to your clients, get in touch.