Expert panel: ticketing and payments
In conclusion to our Ticketing & Payments In-Depth Focus, we asked a number of industry experts the following: how important is it for transport providers to be able to incrementally improve and update their ticketing systems as the pace of innovation continues to quicken?
Anne Grünkorn, Managing Director, LogPay Mobility Services:
In the past, tickets were bought from the conductor, then, gradually, vending machines came to bus, metro and tram stations. Today many customers buy their tickets online via web portal or app and more and more only use their mobile device. Tickets represent access to public transport and other mobility services, for example, bike- and ride-sharing offerings. The requirements for such innovative ticketing systems grow and get more complicated, but customers just want to purchase their ticket as quickly and easily as possible. A good ticketing system that can be technically flexible for the future and can be enhanced by the needs of the transport authority is therefore of great importance. In the same way as transport companies align themselves with tomorrow’s innovations and technology changes, payment service providers are adapting their payment systems to match changing customer requirements. For example, new developments such as ‘best price’ tariff systems require different payment logic, but nowadays an increasing number of customers prefer to get a best price guarantee. This example is an obvious display of why transport companies, IT service providers and payment service providers need to work together. In the end, all customer journeys where they can choose ‘ticket’, ‘tariff ’ and a convenient payment method is reliant on one process chain, where app issuer, technology IT provider and payment provider work hand in hand for the best result.
Kate Hutchinson, Head of Sales, ECR Retail Systems:
The challenge faced by transport operators and ticketing solution providers alike is relative to consumer demand for new technology and innovation to be adopted across all areas of our daily lives. We are presented with choices wherever we shop, with everyone from market traders to multinational retailers offering us flexibility in how we pay, and this filters through to the transport choices we make and the expectations we have of them. With this in mind, it is certainly understandable that providers will look to keep options open by ‘futureproofing’ with the possibility of adding modules and incremental improvements as and when the need is identified. The flipside of this, however, should not be ignored. A well-designed system offering a broad range of today’s choices, and doing it well, is likely to outperform a similar system that promises the unknown. Ad-hoc and bolt-on enhancements risk wide-reaching negative effects on functionality, causing negative perceptions overall.
Amin Shayan, CEO, Littlepay:
As the pace of change accelerates, transport providers must become more adaptable in their response. With regard to ticketing systems, those who have invested heavily in rigid, tightly-integrated solutions are finding it harder to react to changing customer preferences. This was the challenge we addressed when we started Littlepay four years ago. We set out to build a modular payments platform that could integrate hardware and software components from different vendors into a loosely-coupled ticketing solution. This enables transport providers to test different validators and back-offices in an agile way. As new technology emerges, they can upgrade ticketing systems at far less cost. Consumers consistently demand simplicity and convenience. According to a recent Visa whitepaper, 27 per cent of people in major world cities would use more public transport if it was easier to pay. From the uptake we’ve seen as we’ve deployed contactless EMV systems in Europe, being able to pay with a contactless bank card or digital wallet is their strong preference. Operators embarking on their journey to contactless EMV should be wary of committing to complex, lengthy projects. Choosing a ticketing technology that offers speed-to-market, agility and modularity will mitigate risk and deliver the best return on investment.