Management & Operations

Transit moves to open fare payment

Posted on February 22, 2012 by Nicole Schlosser, Senior Editor - Also by this author

Page 3 of 3

Using Masabi's mTicketing smart phone app, passengers can buy and display the secure mTickets on almost any mobile phone.
Using Masabi's mTicketing smart phone app, passengers can buy and display the secure mTickets on almost any mobile phone.
Mobile ticketing speeds up UK rail travel

London-based Masabi, a developer of mobile ticketing technology, is making it possible for U.K. train riders to buy and receive fare tickets on their phones and skip any delays caused by standing in line.

Using its mTicketing app, riders are presented on their device screen with pricing options for their journey. Then, they can make a purchase using a credit or debit card, and Masabi delivers to the phone a mobile ticket for the routes which support them, Ben Whitaker, CEO, explains, such as those on Manchester, U.K.'s First Transit Pennine Express. If a rider is buying a ticket for a route that isn't mobile-enabled yet, they receive a collection code that allows them to pick up a paper ticket at the station.
Similar to open fare payment, Masabi's mobile ticketing integrates with the back end of credit and debit card systems for pricing.

Because mobile ticketing offers many different ways to check tickets, it is suitable for many different transit types, Whitaker says.

"[It's] much easier to roll out on big railways, compared...with smart cards. It's better for city centers like London, where you [would] need to have lots of smart card readers," he explains. "Bigger rail operators can't always have smart card readers [at] every station, but it's quite straightforward to train the guards to check the tickets the old-fashioned manual way.

Meanwhile, there's an interest in the extra speed and lower cost of deployment for cellular-based ticketing in the U.S., Whitaker says. Masabi is currently working on a few projects in the U.S. but nothing that can be announced formally yet, he adds.

"The cell phone is going to become one of the default ways the public manage their travel," Whitaker says.

The developer has launched eight apps in the U.K. and will soon release more.

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