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Discussing next-generation transport ticketing with Myung-Hwa Calais & Ranald Freestone

Transport ticketing is an interesting and complex ecosystem that’s seen a rapid period of evolution in recent years.

With an increasing convergence with payments, the rise in new form factors and the dawn of MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service), there’s a lot to get to grips with.

To sift through the industry’s buzzwords and help make sense of the latest trends and technologies, we sat down with FIME’s resident transport experts, Myung-Hwa Calais, Head of Transport at FIME and Ranald Freestone, AFC Senior Consultant.

Q: What would you say has been the biggest driver of change to the transport ticketing market in recent years?

Myung-Hwa: The automated fare collection (AFC) system has revolutionized the global transport ticketing industry in the last 20 years, making the whole business of managing tickets and fares faster, cheaper, simpler and more resistant to fraud. But with many AFC solutions now cumbersome and outdated, the industry is looking to rejuvenate its offerings.


The mobile and contactless (r)evolution is one of the biggest drivers of this. We’re all ‘tapping’ more during our daily lives – be that with a smartcard, wearable or other NFC-enabled devices such as smartphones. As a result, the pressure is on for transit agencies to deliver the same convenient, seamless experience with its fare collection solutions.

We’re also witnessing a great shift of data and applications into the cloud and the widespread adoption of mobile apps. Demand is high for faster, interoperable services that incorporate a rapidly growing range of new payment form factors that stretch far beyond dedicated AFC travel cards and integrate adjacent consumer services seamlessly onto one mobile platform. This is the heart of MaaS.

Q: What trends and technologies are emerging as a result?

Ranald: Mobile ticketing has emerged as one of the top priorities for transit agencies, but there are a few ways to deliver such solutions. Near field communication (NFC) based solutions can be defined working directly with handset manufacturers and mobile network operators (MNOs), but this isn’t the only option. Technologies such as host card emulation (HCE) and QR code-based models can offer more cost-effective solutions, should agencies wish to go it alone.

No longer confined to the realms of health and fitness, wearables are also increasing in popularity. As a fairly new form factor, however, with limited industry knowledge, ensuring the security, functionality and interoperability of these solutions can cause a few headaches for transport operators. Seeking unique expertise and consultancy support is best practice to ensure a quality solution from the get-go.

Q: Account-based ticketing (ABT) is generating a lot of buzz at the moment – what are some of the advantages of this model?

Myung-Hwa: Transitioning to an account-based model, where value is stored in a back-office account and payment is made after travel, offers advantages for travellers and transport agencies alike.


ABT is an enabler of new payment form factors. With the ticket managed in the back-office account, travellers can choose from a range of media to identify themselves with.

Plus, when upgraded to accommodate EMV® open-loop payments, this can offer even greater flexibility and convenience and, as with all contactless-centric implementations, reduced queues and quicker throughput.The success of Transport for London (TfL) implementation is a prime example of this.

The centralization of ticketing operations in the cloud also offers transport agencies stacks of data and never-before-seen levels of operational agility. System and service updates are simplified, payment processing costs are reduced, and business models can be intelligently tweaked with access to new data streams. It’s worth checking out our recently published eBook to get the full low-down of benefits and challenges of implementations.

Q: What might transit agencies need to consider before upgrading their systems?

Ranald: When rejuvenating legacy systems, or launching new ones, players need to ensure they are selecting technologies that best meet the needs of their travellers. For example, while EMV and mobile ticketing may be the pièce de résistance for many markets, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model.

Partnering with an industry expert that understands both the technical and strategic challenges of deciding and developing next-generation ticketing solutions can ensure a quality, tailored, fully interoperable and secure solution is developed from the word ‘go’.

Beyond EMV, there are a number of other standards that agencies need to consider to ensure compliance and tap into new benefits. OSPT Alliance’s open standard CIPURSE™ is one such example that’s growing in popularity. Fully form-factor agnostic, it offers a high level of security combined with guaranteed interoperability and the scope to scale seamlessly and cost effectively.

With the convergence of payments, mobile and transport, it’s undoubtedly a very exciting time for the industry. Culminating our years of experience across these verticals, we look forward to continuing to support players across the globe in delivering truly next-generation, seamless solutions.

*EMV® is a registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries and an unregistered trademark elsewhere. The EMV trademark is owned by EMVCo.

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