Ridango & Östgötatrafiken

Ridango and Östgötatrafiken are working together to bring the next generation of public transport ticketing for citizens and visitors of the Östergötland Region in Sweden.

Together with Östgötatrafiken, we’ve recently launched our contactless Mastercard and Visa (cEMV) payment solution in 400 public transport vehicles across the Östergötland Region.  

In this interview with Ylva Aspenberg, Project Manager at Östgötatrafiken, we talked about why they decided to adopt a contactless payment solution for public transport, and what kind of reception and feedback they’ve received from passengers and more.   

Östgötatrafiken has gone live with Ridango’s contactless bank card acceptance across public transport (cEMV). What were the key aspects that made you decide to adopt Ridango’s transit payment solution?   

On our city roads, where this solution has been implemented, time is of an essence for Public Transport and minimizing the potential for delays is critical, as each vehicle has limited time available for each stop.

The number of passengers using public transport in the region is generally quite high (especially during rush hours), and it’s increasingly more challenging for public transport operators to keep to on track with schedules as spontaneous traveling is becoming also more common.  

We needed a solution that allowed passengers to board public transport quickly and pay for their journey effortlessly, without any assistance from the driver and all in an instance without having to think or plan-ahead.

“We needed a solution that allowed passengers to board public transport quickly and pay for their journey effortlessly, without any assistance from the driver and all in an instance without having to think or plan-ahead.”  

Using contactless bank card in the ticket validators seemed like the obvious choice, since all journeys within the city public transport system have the same simple flat rate price, regardless of how far you travel. 

When did your organization first realize that contactless EMV payment is the way to go?   

As many in our industry, we have seen the trend towards contactless payments picking up speed and adoption all over the world in recent years. Our new ticketing system was developed in collaboration with Skånetrafiken and Blekingetrafiken, and had the potential to incorporate a contactless payments solution, which was one of the reasons we wanted to come on-board back in 2018.  

What lessons did you learn during the implementation of the contactless payment solution?   

One key success factor was having very close contact between all parties involved in the project: Ridango, the developers of the ticketing and fare collection system, the payment acquiring banking partner, and our own internal IT- and economic departments. This made communication swift and efficient and was one of the reasons we could progress quickly and safely. All in all, everything went very smoothly, and since we used the same implementation that had already been done in Skåne region, we weren’t in for any new surprises or challenges.  

“One key success factor was having very close contact between all parties involved in the project: Ridango, the developers of the ticketing and fare collection system, the payment acquiring banking partner, and our own internal IT- and economic departments.”

What has the reception been like so far – have you received feedback from passengers already? How do you help them adapt to the new payment system? 

We have not collected any systematic feedback yet. However, we have gotten many positive comments regarding the solution, such as; “Wow, it finally works the way it did in Toronto!”. However, I must point out that we do not yet have the possibility to provide discounts to groups that would typically have access to entitlements, such as students, the elderly, etc. and that has been questioned following the implementation.

To avoid “card-clash”, i.e., the wrong card being read by the system, we have had to reach out to all our travellers and instruct them to only hold a single card against the validator. This has been a challenge, as this information is important also for all travellers, not just those intending to use contactless bank cards. 

Due to the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, our communication is more focused towards asking people to stay at home if they can, rather than on marketing how easy it is to travel using contactless payments in public transport. Hence, our communication around the new payment method so far has been mostly factual and informative rather than a full active marketing campaign.   

Would you encourage other public transport authorities and operators to enable bank card acceptance in public transport? What are the key benefits from your point of view?    

Absolutely, from a passenger’s perspective I believe the key benefits of not having to plan ahead or learn how to understand ticketing systems and apps lowers the barrier, enabling more regular and spontaneous use of the public transport system. 

As cEMV technology is adopted by more public transport operators it will soon become the industry standard for simplicity in ticketing – it will mean that you can travel “everywhere” with the same card or device, which is extremely convenient and opens up so many possibilities.  

However, a word of caution, the solution doesn’t fit everywhere. One key condition for contactless payment success is for operators to have a simple or capped fare structure for all journeys within the public transport network, which is certainly not always the case in some regions.

“As cEMV technology is adopted by more public transport operators it will soon become the industry standard for simplicity in ticketing – it will mean that you can travel “everywhere” with the same card or device, which is extremely convenient and opens up so many possibilities.”

As soon as you introduce more options and complexity to the fare system, then so the system will require additional input from either from the passenger or the driver, defeating one if its key benefits – speed.  With cEMV simplicity and speed are its key strengths

Ridango about the collaboration with Östgötatrafiken

“Doing projects with guys from Östgötatrafiken is always a pleasure. The launch of Blippa was my third major project with them. The thing I appreciate the most is the ability to prioritize important things. Many customers tend to demand everything and at once (which is understandable), but a few are willing to accept the reality and complexity and set the priorities right. Östgötatrafiken is the latter. Blippa project was a cooperation of many different players – in addition to Ridango, Skanetrafiken and Swedbank were part of the delivery, and Östgötatrafiken gracefully managed to put this puzzle together”, said Dmitri Kovagin, Ridango’s Project Manager.