ITSO schemes have been withdrawn and other programmes de-funded. Is it time for the industry to work together to provide better more flexible propositions to public transport customers?
Too much time and effort has gone into proprietary solutions, expensive legacy systems and failing initiatives. Funds are going to be limited post-COVID and it is time for more efficient use of resources and less wheel re-invention. At this point, we have ITSO for concessions and city card schemes for residents (e.g. SWIFT & POP) while contactless EMV works well for ad hoc local journeys within the daily liability limit. However, the solution for multi-modal travel is still evading us 20 years after the first smart attempt to join up bus and rail ticketing, while including micro-mobility is even more daunting. Attempts to stretch and join existing contactless ticketing solutions are futile and sub-optimal.
There are a number of changes in approach which would break the log jam and achieve a better future for operators and customers
Embrace co-design where transport schemes and suppliers work together on the design
Learn from the cost-efficiency of barcode ticketing, but address the inherent weaknesses
Accept that ITSO is currently sufficient for concessions and city scale propositions but won’t be revamped
Work alongside Transit EMV (local journeys but not longer distance)
Focus on a new standard for multi-modal account-based ticketing with multiple retailers and open product acceptance
Focus on performance, efficiency, trust, security and integrity
Transport ticketing should be more like a supermarket where I can buy and use a wide range of products from my preferred retailer
Add some incentives for customers to choose green forms of transport
TfN had the right idea but it proved too difficult to implement without the buy-in from the operators.
We are working with other businesses through the UK Smart Transport Advisory Group to define a better ABT solutio