Focus On: Fare Collection

Mobile ticketing– demand is on the rise


BUSRide interviewed Darren Dickson, president of Genfare, about mobile ticketing. Genfare is a leading provider of fare collection solutions for transit agencies of all sizes. Dickson speaks about the prevalence of mobile ticketing, as well as its benefits and challenges. Finally, he discusses the main drivers behind mobile ticketing’s nationwide adoption and implementation.

How prevalent is mobile ticketing in North America today?

On the agency side, the demand for mobile ticketing is certainly on the rise and growing quickly. Mobile solutions are in every walk of life, and it’s a natural extension of an agency’s fare collection payment options to offer mobile ticketing for added convenience.  As a fare collection provider, mobile ticketing is one of a full suite of payment options we provide to create a comprehensive fare collection solution that is designed to meet the needs of each agency and their ridership.


What are the benefits for transit agencies adopting mobile
ticketing solutions?

The biggest benefit to the agency is the ability to implement a standalone visual solution quickly. Mobile ticketing can be implemented in phases and initially doesn’t have to integrate into the agency’s backend.  The ideal implementation is to phase in visual validation, and then phase in the full validation through your fare collection system to ensure everything is tracked and reported through a single backend.

FastFare-E_MobileThe benefits to the agency are multifold. Mobile ticketing allows the agency to appeal to a specific demographic, such as those with smart phones, choice riders, and those wanting the convenience of purchasing a ticket at a moment’s notice. Other benefits include the agency’s ability to reduce cash transactions as well as ticket sale costs, and provide an additional media platform and revenue stream.


What challenges does mobile ticketing face?

Most mobile apps aren’t integrated into an agency’s backend system. It’s a standalone application, which means the agency must manage an additional stream of revenue and data—both need to be incorporated and reported upon.

Another significant challenge is that there is a level of security to be aware of—there are always security threats. With visual validation, the driver is now brought back into the mix of fare collection and is put into a situation where they need to make boarding decisions which is what an agency wants to avoid. A validating mobile ticketing app leaves the driver out of the mix.


How soon do you believe mobile ticketing adoption will become a necessity for major transit agencies? Why?

The demand is already high—and ridership is pushing for the adoption of the technology. New technology opens the door to new options, but it’s also about convenience—the ease of trip planning, tracking vehicle location, etc. Once mobile starts to integrate more successfully, it will allow agencies to offer programs that are largely beneficial to the riders.

As with many new initiatives, budget, speed of implementation and ridership are just a few of the main drivers.

Aside from purchasing convenience, what benefits does mobile ticketing present for riders?

Mobile ticketing opens up an entire communication channel for riders that allows the agency to connect with a rider at a heightened level. Vehicle data, on time data, push notifications, receiving the best deal on a ticket—the options abound.

It’s this level of connectivity that will serve as the base platform for the last mile approach.  Mobile can serve as the gateway for ride share, bike share and other platforms to ensure a rider is able to make a full trip with a single source.


How does mobile ticketing help agencies better protect against theft and fraud? 

Mobile ticketing with full validation is one of the best ways to protect against theft along with the ability to incorporate your data into a single backend.   There are a number of security measures in place for visual validation as well. Those measures include daily changing images, a countdown of the active ticket, and an interactive background that lets the driver interact with the application if there is a question about whether the ticket is valid.


Darren Dickson serves as president of Genfare, Elk Grove Village, IL.