Last month, we visited Singapore for Global Mass Transit’s (GMT) annual Transit Ticketing & Fare Collection APAC conference. Rapidly becoming the event in the APAC transit industry’s calendar, this year’s show didn’t disappoint.
Offering invaluable insights from across this diverse region, a few overarching themes stood out about the status of this market, where it’s heading, and the key challenges it faces.
The holy grail of ABT?
Migration to an account-based ticketing (ABT) system was a lively discussion point at the event. With a report from GMT last year finding the cost of issuance and maintenance of stored value cards had jumped from 7 to 9 percent in recent years, it’s unsurprising many are considering this upgrade to reduce costs, increase flexibility and futureproof systems.
Schemes are getting serious about transport, too. Visa presented “the holy grail of ABT” at the event, showcasing the opportunities and value in moving from a stored value card system to an account-based approach.
Singapore is one recent successful migration story in the region, with many other operators citing moving to open-loop as a major priority. Take Prasarana Malaysia – they are keen to open the door to ABT as means to achieve interoperability with different fare media and, longer term, adjacent services.
It’s worth noting an EMV-based solution isn’t the only way to create and reap the benefits of an ABT system, though. Indeed, the “holy grail” for many may be a self-designed solution that utilizes open standards, such as CIPURSE™.
Go your own way
This neatly leads me to my second point. London was commonly named as the ‘model’ transport system, but operators need to be mindful there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to digital transformation.
Close consideration and guidance in each market are needed to help define what new systems might look like. Operators need to consider several questions: How successful has EMV migration been? What is mobile or contactless adoption like? What are the challenges of your consumers?
The Philippines is one example keen to define their own path. Its Department of Transport presented its plans to create a national and interoperable automated fare collection (AFC) system at the event, completing the project with its own standards and certification program. Expert advice at the start of, and throughout, projects is invaluable – especially for such in-depth projects! Not only does it ensure solutions are most appropriate to the travellers using them, it defines a system that best aligns with budgetary and technical constrains.
Spotlight on India
An apt example of a market in need of a unique approach is India. Convergence between payments, transit ticketing and mobility services is creating new technical and business challenges for the country’s traditional urban mobility ecosystem. For many now, the priority is managing the transit-payments balancing act.
With the integration of new technologies including EMV, QR codes, and a new open-loop system, the level of transformation is remarkable. For this level of upgrade, however, third-party validation is vital.
As explained during FIME’s presentation at the show by Angaj Bhandari, India’s Country Manager, an impartial and external review is far more likely to spot technical faults and offer recommendations for improvement, than reviewing systems internally. Moreover, it empowers operators to shift liability and feel confident new systems are of high operational quality.
Does MaaS need open standards?
In his role as Marketing Working Group Chair of industry association, OSPT Alliance, Jean-Philippe Wolyniec (Sales & BD Director at FIME) presented the importance of standardization to the new age of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS).
Travellers have now become consumers – and indeed, the “MaaS mindset” is all about user-centric, on-demand and value-added services. To best facilitate the levels of innovation and cross-industry collaboration needed to adapt to this mindset, however, Jean-Philippe argued open systems and greater standardization would be vital.
With the organization and its non-proprietary standard, CIPURSE™, gaining traction globally, it’ll be interesting to monitor adoption across the region.
It’s a truly exciting time for the transport sector, but knowing where to start digital transformation projects is tough. Experts like FIME, combining payments and transport expertise, can provide invaluable support in defining, designing, deploying and validating quality solutions. Learn more about how we can support your projects here.
About the authors
Alex Chen, Business Director APAC & Angaj Bhandari, India & South Asia Country Manager, at FIME