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…ITSO will be there

25 August 2016  •  Author(s): Steve Wakeland, General Manager, ITSO

Steve Wakeland, General Manager of ITSO Limited, takes a look at some current smart ticketing platforms and wonders how people will use the technology in the future.

The media are full of stories about contactless bank card ticketing, account-based ticketing and mobile ticketing for transport. We are too. We are investigating all of these prospects using an ITSO platform and are hoping to have a trial of the mobile phone ticket by the end of September 2016.

Contactless and account-based ticketing are another story. If you want to use them in a smart way they need a lot of extra work.

What is seen as effortless is, in fact, effort-full – it just quite naturally does not appear that way from the customer perspective.

However, its implementation involves updating ticketing systems and back-offices and that takes time, effort and, dare I say it, hard cash.

Meanwhile, in the real world of here and now, ITSO is gathering momentum.

pop (384)In the West Midlands, Swift Pay As You Go (PAYG) is used in the same way as cash, yet is cheaper as many operators offer a discount of more than 10%. Passengers load cash onto their Swift PAYG card and use it to buy single, return and day tickets on bus journeys.

Cards can be topped-up online through a passenger’s Swift account, or by visiting one of 250 Payzone outlets across the West Midlands or the Network West Midlands Travel Centre. They can also be topped-up online using one of 100 Swift card collector machines at bus stops across the region, or by using the Swift card Android app.

PAYG has a minimum top up of £10 and a maximum of £50 and a card is not restricted to use by one person, but can be shared with friends and family. Swift PAYG can also be linked to a credit or debit card to activate an Auto TopUp which means it will never run out of credit.

In Tyne and Wear, Pop Pay As You Go provides a discount against normal single fares on Metro, while a best-price guarantee means people will pay less than the price of a DaySaver for the zones they use, no matter how many journeys they make.

In addition PAYG customers can also use their cards to travel on a growing number of bus routes across the North East.

The card allows users to store a cash value topped-up online, at Payzone agents or station ticket machines. Pop PAYG customers on Metro also benefit from a ‘last journey’ guarantee – allowing them to travel even if the journey takes them into a negative balance, provided that they top-up to a positive balance before they next use the card.

Nottingham City introduced a best-price option for all-day travel on buses and trams. Passengers are able to load the new smartcard with e-cash and use it on any service operated by four of the largest local public transport operators: Nottingham Express Transit for trams; Nottingham City Transport; Nottingham Community Transport; and Trent Barton for buses. The system will ensure that the best-price option is given to the customer regardless of which operator or mode of transport they have used.

In West Yorkshire the white MCard is used as a PAYG for any adult single, return or day tickets on Transdev in Keighley and TLC bus services. It is expected to soon broaden out to include all West Yorkshire services and be available at 700-plus Payzone West Yorkshire outlets.

These PAYG are in addition to the tickets already used smartly on buses, rail, ferries and trams around the country – all ITSO-based. They will benefit the more regular traveller who wants to top-up less and buy a weekly, monthly or annual season ticket.

The pundits would like us to think that it will go one way. I have my doubts. In reality the chances are we will have people who like to stay with their ITSO smartcard rather than get their mobile phone out or show their train barcode. But, of course, there will be others who embrace the mobile phone. Whatever they choose, ITSO will be there.

Biography
Steve Wakeland has worked in technology risk management and information security at various industrial and financial services organisations for over 30 years. He joined ITSO Limited in 2011 as Governance Manager to lead compliance through the implementation of policies and procedures across the ITSO membership. Steve became General Manager of ITSO Limited in January 2015.

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