What is the best wine?

01 / 12 / 2022

Present Ticketing for Transport technologies offers a wide range of alternatives, and the evolution continues as digital technologies make further advances in customer interfaces, communication methods and data processing. We must provide ticketing solutions for access and payment in transport systems that bring a wider range of alternatives to cope with each customer profile, type and needs.

Women using phone in a bus

What is the best wine?

I often compare the challenge of understanding Transport ticketing to fine wine. The end product is quite straightforward but the creation is full of complexity. The consumer wants the best value, they turn to the retailers to get help in understanding what the options are, ultimately just like wine the transport provider wants to deliver a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Transport services are mainly provided by public transport (urban and interurban) operators across different modes, and this is a growing collection of different services that now incorporate micro mobility (e scooters, car sharing)  and “on demand”  options (remote and rural services). As the demand for fully integrated journey options increases together with expectations of ease of access to “best value”  the systems, services and data must rise to the increasing complexity of this challenge.

Present Ticketing for Transport technologies offer us a wider range of alternatives, from cash (almost gone but still there in some transport systems) to paper and magnetic tickets, contactless cards, mobile applications, contactless bank cards (cEMV) as well as new ways to identify the passenger like biometrics and face recognition. And the evolution continues as digital technologies make further advances in customer interfaces, communication methods and data processing. Information technology companies are able to combine them creating solutions in a way completely impossible  ten  years ago.

Many payment options linked to ticketing are available today, including, among other, cash, bank accounts (SEPA), electronic wallets, electronic purse for transport, debit and credit cards.

When analysing the most appropriate technological alternative for a particular transport system or network, we must respond to the changing behaviour of our customers (commuters, passengers) and the continuing evolution of the consumer digital product landscape.

Today’s customer rightly expects a modern, customer-focused transport system that reflects the variety and flexibility of modern working patterns delivered at a “valuable” price with a selection of enhancing options.

We must be able to offer…”not cheap”…but …”valuable”… ticket options, combined with flexible and easy to understand fares and products, according to different access and payment means.

I recently asked a transport operating company executive what kind of ticketing solution and payment facilities suited his company best.

“I don’t care”, he said. “I want my customers to access my services by whatever method is easiest for them. I don’t care if it’s at home, via the Web, or on the move, or at the station or buses. I just want tickets to be hassle free.” And of course he is right.

We are mistaken if we think that today’s and tomorrow’s traveller treats journey planning any differently from any other aspect of life. It’s all about choice – the same choice that has seen the evolution of personal communication devices more in the last 20 years that at any other time in history. We can all now communicate in 140 characters or less or even with only one pictogram 😊!

We must provide ticketing solutions for access and payment in transport systems that bring a wider range of alternatives to cope with each customer profile, type and needs, including any real time journey information requirements; easy to say but how could we manage the combination of valuable alternatives for passengers whilst providing benefit and savings (or more incomes) for transport and mobility operators? 

We have to be completely clear about how we are going to harness and exploit the technology opportunities before us – for our customers’ benefit first of course, but also for the success and continuing prosperity of our transport industry.

Transport Ticketing technologies have evolved tremendously and practically speaking there are no limits  to what we could use, combine or even create (take a view of our September blog from my colleagues Lucy & Martin All tickets please – from paper tickets to no tickets”)

In parallel, we are seeing a major change in design and development trends towards modular technology solutions. Not long ago, technology leaders would only develop end-to-end ticketing systems designed for a ticket office (let’s say for rail operators) or for contactless close loop solution in a public transport service within a city.

In fact, that modular approach is a consequence of highly specialized technologies and providers working closely together in true collaboration,  recognising the need to offer the wider range of features, services and options (as mentioned above). More and more we see end-to-end ticketing projects build with modular components provided by technological niche specialists linked with universal interfaces and APIs. In addition, we find payments means leaders entering into this “puzzle” approach game, bringing their expertise in managing different options for pre and post-paying the right to use transport and mobility services.

In summary, collaborative behaviour is the way to cope with evolved and new technologies, combined with modern payment means, looking for a seamless, smooth, easy to use ticketing solutions integrated with a wider variety of payment options.

Worldline are world leaders in payment, providing different solutions, product and also components, interfacing and combined with ticketing modules from our own and from our ticketing partners, creating end-to-end solutions for accessing and paying the transport and mobility services.

One successful example is our solution WL Tap 2 Use to manage the usage of contactless bank cards (cEMV), as well as their digitalized version on wearables and smartphones, to access and pay passenger journeys on public transport, to bike/car/scooter sharing, parking slots, etc. It could work in a standalone approach, working independently of existing ticketing system or in an integrated mode interfaced with it, at field equipment (validation, inspection, gates) as well as back office level.

Download our brochure on WL Tap 2 Use, our Open Payment solution for transport, here.

So, let’s come back to the beginning … “what is the most appropriate ticketing solution for customers? … the one each of them like the most”

At that point I guess you all know or have learnt “what is the best wine?” … “The one you like the most!”

Alejandro Rametta

Global Senior Advisor for e-Ticketing, Worldline