The single ticket vision for truly seamless travel

31 October 2012  •  Author(s): John Verity, Chief Advisor, ITSO Ltd

Until recently, most smart ticketing schemes were completely independent of each other and often based around bespoke closed transit operations. This made a lot of sense to the large transport operators or metropolitan authorities who commissioned them. It gave security and control, met their specific local needs and, should they decide to exploit it, a unique relationship with their customers. Schemes such as Oyster in London and Navigo in Paris have been incredibly successful, even if some are nearing the time for a technology refresh.

However, to the increasingly mobile customer, with access to sophisticated handsets, it has meant carrying ever larger wallets full of plastic. And when schemes become increasingly close or overlapping, separate closed smartcard schemes begin to make less logical sense.

Although smartcards have begun to migrate to common technology platforms, the customer has been less well served. Hans Rat, recently retired UITP Secretary General, observed that: “The switch to a modern smart ticketing system has been planned and prepared with the good intention to make travelling on one card easier. There has been a strong focus on system technology. (We now need) a stronger focus on customer perspective and lifestyle.”

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