Mobile Ticketing in the US: How is technology influencing transit?

Public transportation has come a long way. From the ‘Omnibus’ to the light rail, it’s obvious that technology has made advancements to provide efficient options for riders to get to their destinations.

Technology influences transit industry

Technology has also made advancements in the way that we pay for our trips. When it comes to transit payments, mobile ticketing is making its debut into the transit industry. For smartphone users, the transition is more than appropriate considering smartphone utilization continues to rise. In 2016, smartphone penetration is over 60% – with an estimated increase to 70% by 2020.

In 2015 alone, the number of smartphone users was at 190.7 million, which makes up almost 60% of the country’s population. It is safe to say smartphones aren’t going anywhere, at least for now. In the U.S., transit agencies are implementing mobile ticketing applications to improve efficiency and convenience, while reducing fare evasion and increasing fare revenues for agencies.

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Transit agencies, in particular, are noticing an increase in adoption of mobile ticketing in the marketplace. As it continues to become a consistent part of our lives, mobile ticketing is innovating the way we move. But what exactly is trending in the marketplace? What’s the future of transit ticketing and where will we be in the next few years? Although we cannot predict the future, Passport’s business development team can take what we see in the market and use it to get a glimpse into where we just might be in the future. As mobile ticketing continues to grow at a rapid pace, it’s really an exciting time for the entire industry. These are some of the transit industry trends our team is seeing in the marketplace:

David Singletary, VP of Regional Sales
“Transit agencies of all sizes are realizing that they have an amazing opportunity to gain operational and economic efficiencies while providing great end-user tools via mobile ticketing systems. However, they’re not satisfied with having an app that just sells tickets. They’re demanding more end-user tools like native trip planning and vehicle tracking, alerts and notification capabilities, and mechanisms to crowd-source feedback from their riders. And they want an enterprise back office, integrations with other technology providers, and even tie-ins to other modes of transportation like parking, ridesharing companies, or bikesharing. Forward thinking transit agencies realize mobile technology should be a core part of their operations, as well as the daily routine of their riders.”

Mobile-ticketing Kelsey Owens, Sales Associate

“Over the past year or so, agencies that want to discuss mobile technology have grown exponentially. It’s exciting to watch transit agencies take advantage of the proliferation of smartphones in the US by offering new platforms to riders. This technology will continue to grow and expand, which is an exciting revenue generator for agencies.”

Maxwell Mickey, Sales Associate

“The biggest trend I have seen has been centered around saving. Whether that is time, cost, effort, etc. People are turning to technology not just because their current setup is out of date, but because they recognize an opportunity to better serve their customers while making their operations run smoothly.”

Khristian Gutierrez, Chief Business Development Officer

“Timing could not be better in the market. Agencies who are seeking mobile platforms to sell mobile tickets or provide an easy method for their riders to plan a trip or track a bus. The fight against the Ubers and Lyfts of the world from a public policy perspective is far from over. However, transit agencies have largely come to the consensus that providing quick and simple interfaces to interact with their services will be a core strategy over the next few years.

Ancillary industries, such as parking have proven that there is a strong appetite for these types of services, and that mobile technologies and computing architecture have advanced enough to serve this market need while securely processing municipal payments at massive scales. Agencies around the country are navigating procurement processes and defining scopes of work that fit their needs the best. The next few years will be incredibly exciting.”

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