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28-Mar-2023 20:51:26
by Irina Grant

Use Whatever Is in Your Pocket as Your Ticket to Ride

Adopting an Account-Based Ticketing approach to fare payments makes transit accessible to everyone – regardless of how passengers want to pay.

Sometimes, switching from your private car and using public transit to get from A to B ( and perhaps C, D and E) can feel like a stressful and overwhelming experience.

Which bus do I need to take? How much is it going to cost? Am I getting the best deal? What if I don’t have enough cash? Would a cab work out cheaper?

But what if you knew that you could pay with whatever you had in your pocket?

And what if you also knew that you were guaranteed to get the best fare to get you to your destination and your ticket was valid on all buses and all routes?

This is the beauty of a well-designed Account-Based Ticketing system: nobody gets left behind – regardless of the payment method that they prefer – or have available on them (contactless credit cards, paper tickets, agency-branded NFC smart cards, mobile phones, virtual wallets or cash). 

Account-Based Ticketing works equally well for all riders: visitors, regular commuters, unbanked, cash-preferring riders and lower income individuals alike.

At Masabi, we believe riders should be able to conveniently travel using whatever they have in their pocket to pay for transit. We call it ‘bring your own ticket’ and using our Justride Account-Based Ticketing platform, transit authorities can enable all rider groups to use their preferred method of payment.


Bring your own ticket to ride

The easier an agency makes it to pay and ride by removing the barriers and uncertainty, the more people will want to take public transit. When riders know they can ‘bring their own ticket to ride’ - whether that’s a smart card, an app, a bank card, their smartphone or even their smart watch – they are more likely to hop on a bus – confident that they can pay with whatever is in their pocket.

Factor in the opportunity to sell fares through third-party channels such as Uber or Transit and it’s easy to see how taking an Account-Based Ticketing approach can increase ridership.

In recent years, smartcards or ‘walled garden’ travel apps have been seen as a ‘silver bullet’ to increase rider convenience, but true convenience isn’t about forcing riders down a payment funnel they may not want to take, it’s about letting them pay with whatever means they feel most comfortable with.

At Masabi, we’ve created a fare payments platform that enables the use of all fare media types because we believe that the form of payment should become secondary to the overall public transit experience. When riders know that they can pay with whatever they have available or choose to use, transit agencies can concentrate on providing the best rider experience.

And as more and more riders discover just how easy it is to pay for transit, Account-Based Ticketing quickly achieves critical mass. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing and when people see their fellow riders simply tapping a card or smartphone to pay, they are keen to try it for themselves.


Open Payments offer flexibility

For riders who are already comfortable using contactless credit cards, Open Payments can deliver a ‘tap and ride’ fare payments solution.

Contactless credit cards and virtual wallets (digitally storing credit card information to make electronic payments) are ideal for passengers who prefer using credit cards over other forms of fare media, including tourists, business people, infrequent riders and more. 

Riders who do not use transit regularly and who have access to a credit card may not want to download a ticketing app or acquire a NFC smartcard. For these riders it makes perfect sense to simply grab their contactless credit card or their mobile device (Apple Pay or Google Pay) and simply tap and ride using cEMV, without the need to create an account. 

In our 2021 survey of transit agencies, 92 per cent of agencies said they were planning fare payment innovations to bring riders back on board post-pandemic and more than a half are planning to introduce Open Payments using contactless bank cards and mobile phones.


Cash riders can 'Tap and Ride' too

Account-Based Ticketing systems do not discriminate against those who still want to pay cash for their bus tickets.

Riders who prefer to pay cash to travel can ‘top up’ their transit accounts at a network of thousands of popular retail locations across the US. Thanks to Masabi’s partnerships with payments providers InComm Payments and T-CETRA, cash riders can convert their cash into digital mobility credits by a process of ‘cash digitization’ at convenience stores, ticket offices or automated Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs).

Riders pay cash over the counter at the store, or at the ticket office, which is then converted into digital currency or ‘stored value’ held on their smartphone or on a smartcard linked to an individual account.

To board the bus, the rider simply taps their phone or smartcard against a card reader. As long as there is value stored within the account, the rider will automatically benefit from the best fare for each journey they make.


Fair fares for everyone

With Account-Based Ticketing, riders can benefit from fare capping and increased equity. Masabi's fare payments platform ensures that every passenger pays the same fare for the same route, regardless of how often they use it. 

Fare capping is a key feature that benefits all riders, even those who cannot afford to purchase period passes in advance at discounted rates. Once a rider's spending reaches the equivalent cost of a daily period pass or weekly travelcard the platform automatically stops charging them for the rest of the period (fare capping rules are configurable to agency requirements).

This approach to fare capping promotes equity for all riders, especially those on lower incomes. They can use public transit as often as they need to without feeling like they are being penalized for not being able to purchase a period pass in advance. 

Adopting an Account-Based Ticketing system is a win-win situation for both riders and transit agencies, ensuring that every rider can access and benefit from affordable public transit.


Using the mobility app of choice

When it comes to choice, riders’ decisions on how to pay also extends to mobility apps they are currently using. Agencies can integrate their ticketing with industry-leading third-party apps like Transit (#1 trip planning app in North America), Moovit, Uber and Lyft, creating new sales channels and providing a true MaaS (Mobility as a Service) experience for passengers.

Millions of people are already registered with these rapidly growing mobility apps and moving to Masabi’s Justride platform makes integration with third-party apps straightforward using APIs or Masabi’s Software Development Kit (SDK).

Partnering with third-party transit apps gives riders the opportunity to plan, pay and ride across transit systems – increasing discoverability of bus travel and providing seamless connections to other forms of transit.


Convenience is key for the future of transit

Public transportation is a vital service that connects people to work, education, and social opportunities. However, the complexity of the fare payment system often discourages people from using it. Account-Based Ticketing makes transit accessible to everyone, regardless of their preferred method of payment. And with the fare capping feature, riders can use public transportation as often as they need to without feeling penalized for not being able to purchase a period pass in advance.

Masabi's Justride Account-Based Ticketing platform enables transit agencies to offer a 'bring your own ticket to ride' experience that suits all riders, regardless of their preferred method of payment. For riders who already have contactless credit cards, the platform delivers an Open Payments 'tap and ride' fare payments solution. Meanwhile, cash riders can convert their cash into digital cash at retail locations across the US to pay for fares and secure the best price for every trip.

Adopting an Account-Based Ticketing approach is essential to modernizing public transportation and increasing ridership. When it comes to fare payments, true convenience means enabling riders to pay with whatever they have in their pocket. Riding public transit should be as pleasurable as a trip to Baskin Robbins – riders can choose whatever flavor of fare payment they like!

Do you want to explore how an Account-Based Ticketing solution could work for your agency? Contact Jeff directly. 


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Written by Irina Grant

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