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Beyond Mobile Ticketing: How to Achieve More from your Fare Collection System

Adopting a mobile-first strategy can help transit agencies move with agility to bridge the gap between existing services and the increasing demands of riders for on-demand offerings and convenience. Some riders are still turning to more convenient options, like rideshare or car share. Mobile ticketing can help position transit as a convenient option and make the experience of taking transit — from planning to payment — feel inviting, simple, and instantaneous.

But, what else can mobile ticketing do beyond add convenience and speed to a rider’s journey?

With consumers spending five hours a day on mobile devices (92 percent of that time using apps) transit agencies have a huge opportunity to look beyond just the ticketing features, and leverage their mobile ticketing app to achieve even more. Below are two ways that transit agencies can use mobile ticketing to gather data for operational improvements and communicate with riders quickly and effectively, and in a more personalized way.

1. Collect Important Rider Data to Improve Service

A mobile ticketing platform can help transit agencies collect data about where passengers board, common payment methods and fares purchased, which can serve as powerful proof points to influence positive change both internally and externally. Data can be extremely useful when it comes to transit route planning, infrastructure updates, and tailoring the user experience. It can also help identify inefficiencies, so agencies can work to remedy those issues. Thinking through the type of data that your agency would like to collect (geospatial, demographic, ridership and usage), as well as outlining immediate priorities can go a long way in deploying a solution that fits within budget.

It’s also essential to come up with a plan for how you’d like to share the data that you’ve collected with key stakeholders and the public, as well as identify any potential liability associated with certain types of data. It’s important for your agency to allocate the time to strategically identify your team and organizational structure, and key performance indicators to help set up your agency for success in the long-term. Data is a powerful tool to communicate findings internally and externally, and can help agencies make the case for operational changes to increase efficiencies, which can go a long way in building trust and positive perception with stakeholders and the community.

2. Act as a Communication Channel

A mobile ticketing system is also a prime channel for transit agencies to communicate with riders. Today, the 81% of Americans who own a smartphone are checking their devices once every 12 minutes and spending 90% of that time in mobile apps. Agencies can use their mobile apps to deliver real-time notifications to riders, like service updates and promotions, tailoring the message and channel based on the scenario and agency need to deliver a personalized message that will resonate.

There are a wide variety of communication channels that agencies should be taking advantage of within their mobile app, including push notifications, in-app messages, and feedback from users in the app store. It’s really important to have a communications plan to distinguish tone and format for each channel, and have someone or a team dedicated to responding and managing each respective channel. For example, push notifications can be a great channel to target and engage users to take a quick action, like letting a user know about a ticket that’s expiring, while in-app messages are delivered to customers while they are using the mobile app, and can be great for calling out a new feature or promotion to improve the customer experience. Regardless of the channel, it will be important to not bombard users with too many messages, and to have a strategy for outreach.

No matter the system or platform of technology that your agency is using, it’s critical to take a step back and ask whether or not you’re leveraging it to its full capacity. Are there additional channels or tools that I should be taking advantage of? Your mobile ticketing system has the potential to serve as a platform for rider engagement, data collection, and so much more.

Download moovel’s full guide, Three Ways Mobile Technology Can Shape Transit Operations, to learn more about how your agency can look beyond ticketing and use mobile technology to reduce operational costs, enhance the rider experience, and use data to plan for more accessible and efficient transit routes.

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Working with cities to create a world without traffic jams.

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Paul Cheng

Paul Cheng

Innovative Mobility and Transportation Planning Professional

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