Around the world, the transport industry continues to manage the risks associated with keeping people moving safely through the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has accelerated innovation and for integrated ticketing solutions this has meant developments to improve the safety of self-service machines which may be accessed by thousands of travellers each day. Social distancing, screens, low-touch interfaces, contactless payments and anti-microbial coatings are all part of the innovation landscape.

Whilst innovations continue, operators and authorities are advancing multi-modal programmes to make travel easier, safer and quicker through fares simplification and centralised Account Based Ticketing (ABT).

Flowbird is working with authorities and operators in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia to implement Open Payments and ABT systems that streamline passenger access across different modes of transport. In a travel setting, Flowbird’s ABT system provides convenience and speed of boarding. It supports the use of virtual credentials, stored in the Cloud and associated with travel rights  through anonymous or registered accounts. The credentials affirm the right to travel as passengers access transport networks through gates or on-board, with each card or mobile ‘tap’ logged to the user account.

Flowbird’s ABT solution is the foundation for multi-modal end-to-end Mobility as a Service (MaaS), that not only provides access to more modes of transport – bus, rail, tram, ferry, metro etc – but also integrates first and final mile services such as taxis, escooters, bike and car hire.

Paul Rogers, sales and marketing director at Flowbird, says future integrated retailing is central to seamless access to transport and ABT provides a solid foundation. Policy initiatives, such as the Department for Transport’s Future Transport Zone in the UK, are helping to accelerate the availability of ABT solutions, making it easier for passengers to use virtual credentials and providing the basis for targeted incentive schemes, which may reduce congestion and pollution.

Comments Paul: “For city and regional authorities, traffic congestion and air quality remain priorities, but Covid has slowed the modal shift from cars to public transport. At the same time, the trend towards contactless payments has accelerated, so as we look past the pandemic, we see a strong desire among transport authorities globally for more frictionless, integrated multi-modal and multi-operator retailing.

“It’s also critical that transport systems are fully accessible and that choices remain for travellers who don’t always have access to mobiles and cards, such as children. So, self-service ticketing at the point of travel remains an important part of a fully accessible transport retailing landscape.”

Flowbird ‘joins the dots’ for authorities through its ABT system which allows the integration of multi-operator transport modes and provides the foundation of a MaaS ecosystem. Its platform offers passengers, operators and authorities greater control over fares, payments and incentives. Once ABT is applied, frictionless and interoperable travel across public and private transport operators becomes a reality, with passengers accessing services through their virtual credentials in their wallet, app or online.

ABT INSIGHT: AMIENS MÉTROPOLE, FRANCE

In the city of Amiens, Flowbird has created an Account Based Ticketing (ABT) solution that offers all passengers, including casual users, a capped daily and monthly best fare guarantee.

The Amiens Métropole ABT system serves 140 buses and a bus rapid transit network and is built on Flowbird’s CloudFare modular back office. This provides operators with fare and topology  management and device configuration and monitoring, while the platform’s scalable open architecture also supports third party passenger apps for kiosk-based ePurse top-ups and bike hire.

The solution follows the cEMV Model 2 and specifically the Visa MTT Model and the Mastercard PAYG Model and is also certified as part of the Visa Ready for Transit scheme. It uses a flat fare  ‘tap on’ scheme, following the Visa Mass Transit Transaction model and integrating with multiple card networks certified through the Flowbird payment gateway.

On average the ABT system processes around 40,000 transactions a day, helping deliver mobility services for 180,000 residents in the city and in 39 neighbouring towns and villages.

To read the article as it appeared in Passenger Transport please click here