Ask an Expert

Rogier Boogaard

Principal Consultant

What are the biggest transaction-related issues facing the transport industry?

One of the biggest issues for transport operators is the cost to operate and maintain a transaction-based fare collection system. The actual cost to collect one dollar in a public environment is often too high. At the heart of this issue is the current “inside-out” philosophy where transport operators employ an automated fare collection system that combines a means to transact for travelers with automation that is complex and decentralized.

 

The result is that travelers, the consumers of public transport services, often face a rigid fare collection system that is tuned to the needs of the operators more than to their own needs. Our experience shows that travelers prefer to interact with public transport operators through the contactless means of payment and identification they already have, and they want an integrated and seamless payment experience that offers the best price for their travel and provides relevant value-added benefits in return.

 

What technological advances do you believe will have the biggest
impact on transit ticketing over the next 10 years?

For the next 10 years, we expect large advances in the communication speed and processing power of network technology to impact transit ticketing. Transport operators have an opportunity to apply this technology to overcome the issues related to the current “inside-out” approach. They can do this, primarily, by moving the logic that currently resides in the contactless media and the system front-end to the back-end combined with a fast and reliable connection between the front- and back-end of the system. This would establish a cloud-based fare collection system tuned to the customer with sufficient flexibility to accept different contactless identification media as well as a variety of payment options, including “pay-after-you-travel.”

 

Why is it important to have one robust set of universal
standards in transit ticketing?

Enforced global standards are an absolute prerequisite to fully utilize the capabilities of an open, cloud-based system. In addition, the unambiguous standardization of the interfaces over which public transport operators interact with customers and themselves offers two important benefits. Specifically, this standardization will help to protect an operator’s investment in a fare collection system against the rapid pace of technology advancement (and the prospect of obsolescence), and it will provide the flexibility to enable operators to embrace and integrate new technical developments. Based on these benefits, we strongly recommend that transit ticketing employ the global standardization currently used in card payments.

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