Smartphone payments are no longer something new. Payments with wearables become a trending topic as well. The global mobile ticketing market size is projected to reach USD 4133.1 million by 2028. With commuters gearing up with gadgets, public transport operators need to find a cost-efficient balance between coping with modern demand and introducing new technology.
Whenever it comes to selecting a transport operator, commuters always look for a more convenient and smooth experience - to select the ticket of their choice, to pay easily and quickly, and to get on board in no time.
While for commuters the question does not even exist, for transport operators the dilemma is real - whether to undergo transformation introducing pay as you go model or not. Below we will discuss five benefits of the introduction of mobile payments and mobile ticketing for transport operators in 2023.
Why operators should introduce mobile ticketing
Classic paper ticketing or cash used as fare collection methods are slow and hard to track and may result in fraud activities and asymmetry of information between the driver, inspector, cashier and the passenger. Transport operators struggle with more or less the same challenges and face the same questions of making transportation more efficient, more profitable, yet increase attractiveness and safety of services to improve the volumes of users.
How can an operator improve their public transit network, transform services while avoiding significant investment and make it accessible to customers? Mobile ticketing is the short answer.
The use of smartphones has revolutionised our lives. In 2023, there are over 6.92 bln smartphone users globally, which means over 86% of the world population owns a smartphone. They are now the most popular devices worldwide – we use them to connect with friends, access information, shop online and pay for goods and services.
Smartphones have become a convenient tool for operators too. The use of smartphones by commuters allows operators to introduce modern payment media on routes from QR-codes scanning to tapping an NFC mobile phone onto the validator to enjoy the journey as well a other benefits, such as:
Improved efficiency and reduced costs: Mobile ticketing can help transport operators streamline their operations and reduce costs. By eliminating the need for paper tickets and manual ticket inspections, operators can save time and reduce the costs associated with printing and distributing physical tickets.
Expansion of audience: Mobile ticketing allows operators to tap into new segments such as tech-savvy commuters and tourists, making the service accessible, increasing ridership as a result.
Enhanced passenger experience: Payment with a tap, scanning QR or Bar codes is faster for commuters than cash payment. It takes approximately 20 seconds to pay with cash, 10 seconds to pay with a pin card and 1-2 seconds to pay with a contactless tap. With mobile ticketing, passengers can purchase and store their tickets through an online booking platform and store those on their mobile devices, link active cards to the mobile app or use the app as a separate e-wallet. All of it eliminates the need to carry physical tickets or wait in line to purchase tickets, decreasing the time in transit for the commuter and increasing total volume of passengers for the operator.
Driving MaaS: With the appearance and progress of SuperApps, introducing dedicated mobile apps for ticketing can lead to attracting additional partners and improving cross-sell of services. Acting as a singular tool for ticketing - mobile apps can become a starting point for multi-modal travelling experience for commuters, who would be able to take a bus ride, hop on a train and take a taxi from A to B.
Increased data and insights: Mobile ticketing can provide transport operators with valuable data and insights into passenger behaviour and usage patterns. Operators can use this data to better understand passenger demand, optimise routes and schedules, and make data-driven decisions about service improvements.
Transport operators around the world are introducing mobile ticketing into daily operations improving commuters journey experience. The introduction leads to improvement of three pillars the transport operators should always watch.
Convenience: Mobile ticketing payment options offer commuters a more convenient way to purchase and store transportation tickets. With mobile ticketing, commuters can purchase and store tickets directly on their mobile devices, eliminating the need to carry physical tickets or visit a ticket office. This can save time and make the commuting experience more seamless.
Flexibility: Mobile ticketing payment options can offer commuters more flexibility in terms of when and how they purchase their tickets. With mobile ticketing, commuters can purchase tickets at any time, from any location with an internet connection. This can be particularly beneficial for commuters who have irregular schedules or who need to purchase tickets outside of traditional business hours. While the usage of mobile ticketing may mostly narrow down to the use of mobile wallets, linking a card or using an online booking marketplace, it can also serve its purpose for the unbanked population, through introduction of USSD payment mechanisms, or connecting it to external known to the commuter wallets.
Security: Mobile ticketing payment options can provide commuters with greater security and peace of mind. The payment option allows users to either store their tickets securely on their mobile devices and avoid the risk of losing or misplacing paper tickets or enjoy transparent contactless payment option. Digitalising fare collection and providing passengers with mechanisms to track their journey, historical payments and view fare policies, can help to reduce the risk of fraud and improve the overall security of the transportation system.
What is next?
Mobile ticketing is a win-win for both transport operators and commuters, offering both groups numerous benefits. The future of mobile ticketing looks promising, with the number of users reaching 1.9bln by the end of 2023, more and more transport operators are to adopt this technology. As mobile devices become increasingly ubiquitous, mobile ticketing is likely to become even more popular and widely adopted. Additionally, advances in mobile payment technologies, such as contactless payments and digital wallets, are likely to make mobile ticketing even more convenient and seamless for commuters and increase its potential to transform the way we think about transportation.