Equipped with smart electronic media, passengers enjoy swifter, simpler, safer travel, while providing operators with the detailed, granular view of traveler activity, trends and mobility behavior to enable enhanced customer service. It also enables the development of marketing initiatives that target specific traveler needs and preferences.
This may include more convenient, customized routes for customers, on-board movie viewing or distribution of discount entertainment packages that are of particular interest to passengers. Moreover, the interoperable capabilities of an electronic payment system, linked to technologies, such as mobile, laptop, wireless data devices or global positioning systems — can extend the service experience to help travelers quickly locate their parked vehicles via GPS technology during or after travel, upload discount fare coupons to their hand-held devices or facilitate retail activity like fuel purchases.
Organizations that utilize the more traditional method of fare collection, where cash payments are gathered and counted at the end of the day, should seriously take into consideration adopting more advanced forms of fare collection like automated payment systems. Legacy systems, such as cash-based collection, at best, remain an anonymous activity that does not provide operators with customerinsights or the engagement needed to succeed in today’s market.
Companies that can expand the capabilities of their fare management systems to create exceptional customer service experiences from business intelligence will differentiate themselves from competitors that provide less customer-centric service. Customers will view the services of such providers as superior to that of the typical commuter experience, enabling potential for increased ridership. This will provide the opportunity for increased revenue generation, the ability to better manage operating costs and the opportunity for companies to grow profitability.
Accenture experience has shown those high performers to be the mass transit organizations that provide consistent, exceptional service to customers, satisfying the interests of all stakeholders involved, while managing costs and increasing revenues. Advanced fare management is increasingly being used by companies to accomplish this goal.
Ensuring Sustainable High Performance
High-performance organizations define the value of new undertakings, explore options and develop a strategy for embarking on a new direction to sustain performance. Mass transit providers should consider this in order to successfully upgrade their fare management capabilities.
An essential part of being able to achieve this is taking the necessary steps to ensure the organization is on the right track. It is critically important that providers define what it will take to develop their particular advanced fare management capabilities, and what they are seeking to achieve. Because most public transportation systems are not fully commercial, self-funding ventures, they should incorporate an evaluation framework that reflects public service value, as well as the shareholder value methods more appropriate for private entities. The key is determining not only what schemes end users value most highly, but what will deliver the greatest value for the company.
If the provider is to establish a compelling business case to secure stakeholder buy-in before proceeding with a fare management transformation, it is vital to take a long-term view of what available solutions can be achieved, as well as likely future developments and requirements. For example, technologies that sustain electronic fare collection are constantly changing. Contact-less bankcards, mobile and wireless data services and GPS technologies are enablers for the future of mass transit; harnessing their capability while avoiding a system that quickly becomes obsolete is a key challenge, but not insurmountable.
The provider’s approach should encompass, people, processes and technology — and proceed in harmony with a solutions design for the business organization and operations. Critically, the design should include clearly defined specifications for both current and future fare management solutions so that organizations can move forward in the knowledge that they are well-positioned to manage developments in fare media technology and security, as well as constantly evolving customer demands.