Accenture determines transit passengers worldwide are willing to pay more for an improved experience
Accenture recently issued its findings from its Global Transportation Survey that examined the opinions of travelers in Brazil, Korea, Germany, Spain, UK, and the United States about various modes of public transportation and their traveling behavior.
On behalf of Accenture, Coleman Parkes Research conducted online interviews in multiple languages with 4,500 respondents over the age of 18 between August and December 2012.
From the rising appeal of paperless travel to the increasing use of social media communication with public transport companies, the survey generally reveals that travelers are willing to pay more for better technology on public transport.
“Companies need to deal with customers on their terms,” says Mike Wilson, managing director of Accenture Transportation, North America. “They must provide them transit options that meet their needs when, where and how they want. That requires the interaction to be relevant to the situation at that time.”
Presented here are key findings from Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York survey respondents.
Travelers in these cities seem to concur they would be willing to pay more to experience the benefits of time and convenience. Travelers in Los Angeles were the most willing to pay a higher ticket price for an improved travel experience.
Residents in these cities not only want, but expect to be well informed. They want their journey to be simplified, organized and less stressful. Survey respondents are willing to pay more for:
> Paperless Journey: Of commuters in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York City, over 80 percent of all respondents agreed that they would be willing to pay more for a totally paperless journey.
In Los Angeles, 90 percent of commuters would pay more for transportation; Washington, D.C., 81 percent; and in New York,
> Ticket Purchase via Smartphone: Additionally, over 75 percent of all commuters in these cities would be willing to pay more in exchange for being able to use their smartphone for ticketing.
In Los Angeles, 83 percent of would pay more for this update; New York, 76 percent; and Washington, D.C., 80 percent.
> Smart Card: Similarly, while 78 percent of public transit users in Los Angeles agreed they would be willing to pay more for a smart card, 77 percent of New York users and 73 percent of Washington, D.C. users would pay more.
> Surcharge: The United States reported the fewest number of respondents willing to pay a surcharge for technology. While 77 percent of New Yorkers are willing to pay the surcharge, only 68 percent of Angelenos and 54 percent of D.C. commuters are willing to do so.
Changes in consumer behaviors are changing the world. Mobile internet travelers are almost always online consuming services and products, or connecting with peers and strangers. All the same, little has been done to meet the new demands of these travelers.
Paperless or all-in-one
The majority of surveyed public transit users in Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles would welcome paperless travel or an all-in-one ticket option because it would make traveling easier.
> More than New York and Washington, D.C., 95 percent of Angelenos agreed a paperless option would be appealing. 89 percent of surveyed L.A. commuters would choose an all-in-one ticket.
> In New York, 94 percent would choose the paperless option; 79 percent would choose an all-in-one ticket.
> In Washington, D.C., 79 percent went with the paperless option; 80 percent would choose an all-in-one ticket.
More social media
In addition to paperless travel, respondents want transportation providers to use social media as another way to enhance the travel experience.
> More than Los Angeles and New York, 49 percent of Washington, D.C., respondents receive information on a weekly basis from public transport companies while 55 percent of commuters follow or intend to follow their public transit provider on Facebook. On Twitter, the number rises to 62 percent. Yet only 22 percent of D.C. commuters report that their transportation company communicates to them via social media on a daily basis.
> In Los Angeles, 75 percent of commuters follow or intend to follow their public transit provider on Facebook and 76 percent on Twitter. Only 20 percent of commuters report hearing from having the transportation company via social media on a daily basis.
> In New York, 75 percent of commuters follow or intend to follow their public transit provider on Facebook and 68 percent do the same on Twitter. Only 21 percent of commuters report communications from their transportation company via social media on a daily basis.
Consumer technology, like smartphones or social media, is heightening the demand for more efficient services. Companies need to deal with customers on their terms – when, where and how they want, and the interaction to be relevant to the situation and consumer needs.
Changes to come
Transport operators will have to overcome a number of perceptions and concerns among transit commuters within the next few years when they introduce a paperless travel option.
> Despite not yet having this option, 60 percent of Los Angeles; 59 percent of New York; and 36 percent of Washington, D.C., public transit users assume they can use their smartphone to pay for travel.
> The overwhelming majority of commuters —79 percent in New York; 73 percent in Washington, D.C.; and 85 percent in Los Angeles — also believe that they will be able to purchase tickets via their smartphone by 2014.
> In the future, 76 percent of D.C. commuters, 91 percent of Los Angeles commuters and 87 percent of New York commuters believe they will use a machine on the train to purchase their travel when using public transit.
“In the current environment, transit authorities are under pressure to be the traveler’s ‘gateway’ to the city,” Wilson says. “Transit authorities need to ensure they have the necessary technology and apps in place to meet the burgeoning consumer demand for purchasing tickets at their convenience.”