06-Jun-2016 14:20:15
by Ed Howson

5 Simple Rules for Marketing Mobile Ticketing for Public Transport

Since launching our first system in 2007 Masabi has built up a considerable amount of experience, not just in creating mobile ticketing systems, but also in how most effectively to market them. With some of our deployments now topping 50% of tickets sold via the mobile channel – and most recently our deployment with Metrolink in Los Angeles – here are five pointers on effective marketing:

1. A Simple Proposition is Best

It may seem obvious, but having a simple passenger proposition is key for effective communication. For mobile ticketing the benefits are obvious – the removal of having to have the correct change or waiting in line at the ticket machine or sales office.

It’s important to support as many ticket and journey types as possible. If you have riders using your service for the first time and tickets are not available for them you create a negative experience which could impact your marketing efforts. As such, the simplicity of the message is supported by the completeness of the offering.

This doesn’t necessarily mean switching on a whole network at once. We have seen very effective launches where a single line or route is enable for most or all tickets (monthly, weekly, single, returns etc.) using initial focused marketing which can then be extended as functionality grows to other parts of the network.

2. Leverage the PR Story

Transport is a key topic for local media and mobile ticketing represents an excellent local story – providing a clear passenger benefit, typically combined with savings for the transport provider. As a result, undertaking a well planned PR campaign, both at the time of launch and to support initial growth, is key.

At Masabi we’ve seen considerable success with major articles such as this one in the LA Times and here in the Boston Globe, that have helped to significantly drive usage.

3. Advertise at the point of pain

All of the places where passengers were frustrated with the old ticketing system offer excellent opportunities to make them aware of mobile ticketing and help convert them. Give customers a choice - continue with their old and broken way of ticketing, or switch to mobile.

We have seen a lot of success targeting passengers waiting in line, as well as on board trains and buses where dwell time is higher and riders have time to download. There are also gains to be made by having marketing teams handing out flyers and demonstrating ticketing apps at stations, all of which can have a very positive effect.

4. The Network Effect

Once you have successfully attained critical mass, adoption will continue to grow organically over time, even over a number of years. This is caused by both word of mouth promotion and riders seeing others using the service. The best way to maintain this is to have happy customers advocating the service.

5. Staff Promotion

Front-line staff can be an excellent way to promote the mobile ticketing service. An effective staff marketing campaign and thorough training can have a huge impact on the success of your mobile ticketing deployment and help to create advocates for the technology throughout your network. The earlier front-line staff are involved, the more they feel part of the project and will advocate for it

We often receive examples of staff helping passengers buy tickets using our applications from clients and through social media channels, and this has a very positive impact for passenger perception and adoption rates.


Mobile Ticketing adoption is one the rise around the globe. In order to get your new mobile ticketing app off the ground and increase adoption as quickly as possible it is important you follow these simple steps to help make your mobile ticketing deployment a success.

We hope you found these 5 simple rules useful. If you would like to learn more about mobile ticketing and how to launch and promote your services then please get in touch with us.

Written by Ed Howson

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