Card issuing seems to be hot right now. Despite the rise of alternatives to card payments, many Fintech’s appear intent on adding payment cards to their product portfolios. And it is not just the “me too” start-up banks.
For example, some international remittance services are adding payment cards to their offerings. This allows customers to spend the money they receive directly but also means that customers do not withdraw funds immediately upon receipt. This extends the customer relationship adding value to both the customer and the Fintech.
Last week, I attended the excellent Transport Ticketing Digital Summit which focused on advances in fare collection and Mobility as a Service (MaaS).
This is the third of three blogs about technologies to support contact-free use of public transport.
The radio again – I hear that the Transport Minister for England had just reported that there have been fewer than 400 fines for people failed to wear face covering on public transport. More than 115,000 travellers have been stopped and reminded that face coverings are mandatory, and 9,500 people prevented from travelling.
This is the second of three blogs about technologies to support contact-free use of public transport.
Public transport operators have been making great efforts to make public transport safe during the pandemic. TfL recently launched a new app that makes it easier for passengers to plan their travel and avoid routes where they might come close to large numbers of people. There are claims that the rate of uptake of contactless by passengers has increased significantly since the pandemic and the demand for contact-free transactions on public transport. Visa recently offered a graph relating to global public transport contactless transactions. However, it is not clear what the actual contactless usage is since they are hidden behind month-on-month percentage increases which look enormous when the previous months had fallen off the proverbial cliff.
This is the first of three blogs about technologies to support contact-free use of public transport.
I heard on the radio that, despite ministers encouraging people in England back to work in their offices, most are staying at home. Commuter trains are about one-third full and buses are about 40% full. During the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for public transport fell off a cliff as governments told their people to stay at home. A major part of encouraging travellers to use public transport is the provision of systems that allow social distancing of passengers from staff, ideally eliminating the need to exchange physical tickets, cash and paper receipts.
So far the tech giants seem to be the coronavirus winners, with a massive surge in digital communications and online orders. The impact on lift sharing companies is less clear.
The guidance from both Uber and Lyft says that if they are notified (by a public health authority) that a driver has COVID-19 they may temporarily suspend the driver’s account. It is not exactly clear how this would work.
That got us wondering whether digital identity systems, that we spend so much time talking about, could help. It seems to me there are two potential identity questions here:
1. Is the driver who Uber or Lyft thinks it is?
2. Does the driver have coronavirus?
The first question should be important to Uber and Lyft at any time. Ok, for the moment they want to be sure that they know who is driving to give them a better chance of knowing if the driver has the disease. But there are all sorts of other reasons why they might want to be sure that the driver is who they think it is – can the person legally drive for one.
The second question is harder. Just because the driver doesn’t have the virus today, doesn’t mean he or she won’t have it tomorrow. Maybe, perhaps the ability to share an isRecovered? attribute that says “I’ve recovered from the illness” would be useful when we start to see the light at the end of this tunnel we are entering. And the ability to share that anonymously might be helpful too – providing assurance to both driver and passenger.
All this to one side, the guidance from both Uber and Lyft outlines financial measures they are putting in place to provide security to drivers that self-isolate. That is a great example of responsibility providing the incentive and support required to allow their drivers to do the right thing.
We were at TTGlobal (28-29 Jan 2020) this year for the fifth year running. It was a much bigger event in Kensington Olympia, London, with around 30% more attendees. This blog is a summary of how the two days went for us.
The Plenary session had a surprise guest in the form of the Future of Transport Minister, George Freeman. He spoke eloquently about subjects very close to our hearts:
- Seamless end-to-end ticketing
- Integrated PAYG
- Sustainability: he explained that the emissions of the transport sector are expected to double by 2050 unless something radical is done.
I have written before about a shift in government thinking about mobility that seems to be taking place. Let’s hope this signals more of the same and is followed with positive, decisive action.
Our CEO, Neil McEvoy, moderated the plenary panel on ‘the role of ticketing and urban transport policies in delivering MaaS,’ with panellists from:
- Government of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Dallas Areas Rapid Transit, USA
It was felt that to meet public policy objectives on congestion, air quality and CO2 emissions, facilitating multi-modal, door-to-door, everyday journeys would be key. Facilitating journeys outside of a traveller’s home city or region is welcome but won’t meet wider goals alone.
Highlight of the rest of Day 1 included:
- An update on the Future of Oyster from Transport for London. There are still no plans to turn it off, though the uptake of bank cards by the travelling public continues to rise steadily.
- The Masabi presentation about Fare Payments as Service which was the subject of a recent podcast I made with Ben Whitaker.
- Contactless bank card ticketing has come of age. There were lots of presentations about cEMV roll outs. Visa announced that they have solutions to the classic problems with bank cards (they don’t work for the unbanked or family groups). Contact them if you want to learn more.
I moderated a panel about the future of ticketing technologies with panellists from:
- Deutsche Bahn, Germany
- GVB, Netherlands
- The Human Chain, UK
- Department for Transport, UK
We made a whistle-stop tour of up and coming technologies relevant to the different actors in the Mobility ecosystem, ranging from big data and augmented reality for Data Providers to Open Banking and distributed ledger technology for Maas Providers.
Other highlights for me from Day 2 included:
- The UK’s Rail Delivery Group’s presentation on developing insight from barcode data, linking tickets sold with tickets scanned to inform revenue protection.
- An update from Transport for the North on their Integrated and Smart Travel activities.
- A presentation by MOTC about the difficulties faced by Qatar which currently is massively dependent on the private car and their plans to address the congestion problems they face.
I spent most of my time in the exhibition hall talking with contacts and vendors. I wish there had been time to attend more of the presentations.
I took the opportunity to record another podcast while at the event. This time with Eric Reese, CEO of ByteMark over from New York.
Once again, I was delighted to be one of the panel of judges for the awards presented at the Gala Dinner and Awards held at the Science Museum and hosted by comedian Phil Wang. It was decided by the judges to introduce a Highly Commended tier this year within each award category. This is in recognition that the standard or submissions was generally high. So, while Moscow won the Best Smart Ticketing Programme 2020, both of the following were Highly Commended:
- Flowbird Transport Intelligence & Lothian Buses for their smooth role out of contactless payments card acceptance in Edinburgh in time for the Edinburgh Festival dramatic rise in population and bus usage;
- Rail Delivery Group & Cubic Transportation Systems for the delivery of barcode ticketing under budget and achieving collaboration between 19 Train Operating Companies.
Overall, the event was a great success and great fun to be part of. Here’s to next year.
At Consult Hyperion we have experience globally with transport and mobile ticketing and deploying the latest technologies. If you would like to learn more, give us a call.