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Report: Transit users predict increases in smartphone use, paperless travel

Posted on May 21, 2013

Three out of four travelers (75%) who use public transportation in some of the world’s major cities believe that electronic ticketing would make travel easier, and 92% would welcome paperless travel, a new global survey by Accenture reveals.

The survey of 4,500 urban travelers in nine major cities in Brazil, France, Germany, South Korea, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. showed that approximately 90% of people in these cities use public transportation on a regular basis and they are willing to pay more for technology improvements.

According to the survey, 52% of respondents would be willing to pay at least 10% more for travel if they were offered such technological enhancements as the ability to use a smartphone as a ticket while traveling, an app from transport providers, and/or a paperless travel option.

When asked what motivates their interest in paperless travel, 88% cited time savings as the biggest factor. The survey also revealed that nearly all respondents (93%) are interested in being able to purchase a single ticket for multiple modes of transportation. If a single ticket option were made available, two thirds of the travelers surveyed — 66% — said they would use that option on a daily basis. In addition, 76% of travelers believe that a paperless system would encourage drivers to start using public transport.

Not only do travelers want technology updated and integrated into their transport infrastructure, they also want more frequent communication from and greater access to the transportation providers via social media.

Fewer than 25% of consumers surveyed say they receive communication from public transport companies via social media on a daily basis. However, more than 90% of those respondents said they are interested in hearing about the latest transport prices and promotions and receiving information on late-running trains and alerts, changes in timetables and new technology through social media.

Approximately one-third of the respondents believe they will be purchasing travel tickets via a mobile device during 2013, rising to 78% in 2014. However, 66% do not believe that they currently have the option to purchase tickets using their smartphone.

The survey also showed little difference by age when it comes to using social media for public transportation-related information: 63% of respondents over 65 years old intend to, or already follow, public transport providers on Facebook and 42% on Twitter. The same group is also open to receiving notifications via social media. However, only about one-half say they receive communication via social media on a weekly or daily basis from transport providers.

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