What is account based ticketing (ABT) in public transport?
The global landscape in transport ticketing and payments is drastically changing over the next years. It has taken relatively long time to get to the breaking point but gladly we have reached to there and the speed of change is improving drastically. Partly because there are new companies out there that want to change the way transport ticketing has been done before and of course, partly because advancements in technology are simplifying it.
Over the years Erki, our CEO has met many great transport operators and many transport authorities, yet frequently there is uncertainty and no clarity about what exactly is this this mystical and all the time trending ‘account based ticketing’. Therefore, he took the time to explain it in plain and simple way with few examples.
He is a true believer that all nowadays transport ticketing solutions should be account based. So that an account is carrying single ID or token and there is readiness to capture different fare media types (cards, QR etc.). It just provides so many more customer and operator friendly opportunities than the ‘card centric’ solutions.
Account based ticketing is a transport ticketing solution where
- The value or ticket information is stored in the back-office of the system (read: servers)
- The traditional transport travel card does not have any value stored on the card chip but acts as identification of the traveller only
- Media Acceptance Devices (MAD) / validators do not write any data on the transport card or token cards that are used in the system but merely read the ID from the cards to identify the passenger
- Vehicles and metro gates usually have ticket whitelist and blacklist at present for quick synchronization and offline fall-backs
- System is constantly up to date and synchronized with back-office in short time periods
- Customer can use different media (e.g. QR codes, other vendor registered transit cards as tokens etc.) and always have it synchronized with their accounts in the back-office
- Customers can top-up their cards or buy period passes without going to ticket vending machines or kiosks (that include dedicated proprietary hardware) as the value is store in the back-office
Obviously, the above aspects are only few examples and short description of the possible system setup. Yet, these basic points provide simple overview of the solution and perhaps some more clarity for stakeholders in the industry. The benefits of the account based systems is a whole other story and I can cover that in another post.