During Transport Ticketing Global 2020, we sat down with Mariell Hallenhed, Ticketing and Payments Product Owner of Skånetrafiken and talked about their primary needs before going live with Ridango‘s solution, about the implementation process and more.

You’ve just gone live with contactless bank card acceptance in Skåne public transport, including cities of Malmö, Helsingborg and Lund. What were your primary need and the pain point that made you look for the solution? 
Our customers make 170 million trips roughly every year, and half of them are made in city traffic. Since many people are using public transportation, dwell times need to be very short, and there must be flow in the traffic to stick to the timetables. Considering this the drivers don’t have time to help customers to buy tickets, because of the large number of passengers. Therefore, it had to be a self-service solution.

“Our customers make 170 million trips roughly every year, and half of them are made in city traffic.”

What new did you learn during the implementation process?
My first lesson was that it takes longer than anticipated – over a year. We were a bit naive in the beginning. We really thought this would go quicker. Even though we did work very fast, together with all the parties, when compared to many others, but it was a completely new business area for us. We have never been so deeply involved in payment systems.
You are basically a merchant in a card scheme.
Yes, exactly. 
The following is a bit broad question, but how did the implementation process look like from your perspective? 
From our perspective, we needed to develop our system together with you, since you have all the knowledge (about contactless EMV) that we don’t. There were many dependencies on different things, but initially, it was about collaborating with three parties and making sure that our development team was ready.
So there was a lot of project management?

Did you encounter any challenges or problems while implementing the new technology? 
No, no problems! Everything went smoothly (laughing). Of course, we did. As I said before, the payment industry and such implementation were new areas for Skanetrafiken, so we needed first to understand it. That was one of the challenges. And of course, all the testing, many phases that we had to go through to learn. That’s how you will learn. Even for Ridango – you’ve done it before, but when you implemented the solution for us, it’s was still new and different from what you have done before. From our point of view, it was many discoveries and finding out all the new sorts of things, discussing with different partners and going through various challenges. 
Can you tell us how everyday commuters have adapted to the new solution? Any feedback or results?
We first went live in smaller cities with less passenger traffic. We were travelling ourselves and doing live tests, so it was hard to know in the back-end, which tap belonged to a real customer is and which one didn’t. But when we went live in Helsingborg, the funny thing was, that we went live early in the morning and didn’t communicate anything about it to the outside world, but when we started to look at numbers in the morning then we saw that several people had already tapped! So, people were keen to try out the new system – they were like: “Maybe today it works!”. They have been trying for months maybe already. (laughing again)

And finally, it was there! They like it and use it. We can see an increase every day now, and once we launch the communication campaign in February and March, the usage will increase a lot, I think.
One last question – would you recommend Ridango to other public transportation authorities and why? 
We are so happy working with you. We have been working together for a couple of years now. Not only you deliver the solutions, but it’s also about brainstorming, feedback loops and your openness to new ideas. You’re not so boxed in that sense. There’s a lot of knowledge, you work very fast and deliver quickly. So, it’s very agile how you work, and we appreciate it.

“We are so happy working with you.”

If you’re interested in our contactless EMV solution, then get in touch with us, and we’re happy to talk.