Ahead of Transport Ticketing Global (London Olympia, March 7-8), Mike Sussman, Flowbird’s Head of UK Product Strategy, gives his expert insight into the passenger benefits of open payments that have driven the speedy migration ‘from cash to tap’?
Open payments, where passengers ‘tap to pay’ for travel with their contactless EMV bank card or mobile wallet, have shaken up transport ticketing in the last decade. Their passenger appeal has been confirmed by the quick adoption of open payment (or open loop) schemes around the world.
Flowbird has seen a clear preference for open payments among travellers – on buses in Edinburgh, for instance. Since the launch of ‘tap to pay’ in Summer 2019, there have been over 60 million taps by 4 million unique users. Three years on, half of transactions on buses were made using contactless EMV.
Top 5 passenger benefits for open payments
- Just tap on board, it’s so easy!
With open payments, passengers no longer need to work out which ticket to buy, or worry about whether they have left the home with enough cash, or a loaded transit card. They don’t need to stand in line waiting at a ticket desk or kiosk to pay for a ticket or top-up a smart card.
They just reach for the card or smartphone they carry everywhere and access public transport with a simple tap. It’s just as convenient and easy for locals as it is for tourists.
- Best value fares every time
When passengers tap on an EMV validator which is certified for transit payments, an open payments back office aggregates taps and calculates the best fare for the journey based on fare rules.
The rules for fare capping are automatically applied and the passenger is charged the correct amount at the end of the operational period, which could be a day, week or month. This means that, with open payments, operators can give passengers the confidence they will always benefit from the best available fare.
- Transparency and simple self service
Unlike a closed loop system, where the fare is immediately debited from a stored-value ePurse, open payments are post-pay transactions. Rather than stacking up individual fares for multiple journey legs, passengers make a single, best value payment for their entire journey in a single day.
For passengers that want reassurance the ‘magic’ of fare capping has happened, they can opt to see their personalised journey and payments history by registering for an account and logging into a customer app or portal. If they have any queries, they can ask for support.
- Speedy, secure mobile wallet payments
With so many of us glued to our smartphones even while we’re on the go, using Apple Pay or Google Wallet to tap on board makes payment a brief interruption rather than a chore!
More than two billion people globally use digital wallets, attracted by their ease of use and the same robust EMV security applied to physical bank card transactions. Mobile wallets can also hold specific transit travel tokens which support open payments – and we expect their use to continue to grow.
- Seamless multimodal travel
Multimodal open payment schemes are the foundation for Mobility as a Service (MaaS). They allow passengers to tap-on and tap-off any cooperating services and benefit from multi-operator fare caps, which are layered over individual operators’ fare structures.
The experience is seamless and encourages passengers to use any combination of transport and mobility services to complete their end to end journey.
Multi-modal fares systems bring bring together every element of passenger travel – journey planning, ticketing and payments – in a user-friendly app. Flowbird’s white label MaaS app offers a scalable, mobile solution for multimodal transit, while integrating existing travel passes. It can also bundle a wide range of third party services, such as event tickets and bike hire.
MaaS, supported by open payments and account based ticketing, simplifies access to all modes of transport and is moving the needle for modal shift from private vehicles to more sustainable public transport.
To dive deeper into Flowbird’s open payments expertise, look out for Mike Sussman’s upcoming podcast on payment trends in our latest ‘Let’s Talk About Transport’ series. And if you’re visiting Transport Ticketing Global at London Olympia on March 7-8, we’d love to welcome you to the Flowbird stand (D20) to find out more about our powerful transit back office CloudFare, which includes account based ticketing and open payments (SESAME) modules.