Fare management systems are huge undertakings, with significant long-term implications for business processes, organizational structures and customer relationships. And, there are many issues to consider. Resistance to change is just one aspect of the challenge that fare management systems pose. Failure to review and update business models impacted by new technologies is another. But the results of introducing a multi-operator smartcard ticketing with the correct revisions to fare and tariff structures between operators would satisfy customers, as well as operators.
Organizations should select a strategy then develop detailed implementation plans and operational frameworks to support success, underpinned by strong governance models. They are a necessity, from the early stage of bringing together different viewpoints and coming up with a workable long-term strategy, through delivery to the operation.
For example, one company’s transport project was the Netherlands’ fifth serious attempt to introduce a nationwide electronic ticketing and payment system. Its predecessors all failed to reach agreement between the country’s nearly 20 different, and often turf-conscious, public transport operators. So, the company was careful to get its governance structure upfront. The company also helped ensure operator buy-in right through to the launch of what became the world’s first “single card access” to all forms of public transport by holding regular workshops and meetings for all the participating agencies, and sharing progress reports and key issues with relevant decision-makers.
To succeed, it will be critical that companies establish a reliable and robust platform. This includes gaining the trust of travelers and offering them flexibility in terms of payment choices. Critical also will be the need to manage the complexities of diverse fare structures between travel modes and those of governance between and among operators. Lastly, such systems must be open, flexible, modular, reliable and scalable, offering solutions that can adjust over time to continually shifting demand.
Optimizing the Full Potential of Fare Management is a Must
The creative and effective application of advanced fare management strategies will become more and more important to the performance of mass transit operators as they continue to contend with the enormous challenges that they face today and will continue to face in the future.
The public transport market will continually evolve and become more complex as traveler demands for more convenience, speed and personalized service grow. This challenge will be further complicated by more budget challenges and the increasing need to satisfy multiple stakeholders, as well as customers. And, technologies that support more sophisticated fare management systems and strategies based on the business intelligence that can be gained from them will continue to be in a state of constant change.
Providers that can use fare management strategies to their full potential will be able to effectively respond to the shifting and growing demands of customers, while controlling costs and delivering to all stakeholders involved the promise of advanced fare management. To keep pace with enabling technologies, companies will need to build within their planning process the flexibility to accommodate inevitable technology changes. And, sustaining exceptional customer satisfaction ultimately will translate into increased ridership that will help manage cost, grow revenue and aid profitability.
The future of mass transit is being driven by urban growth, putting public transportation at the center of the debate. The demands of the marketplace are creating a business environment where public transit providers will need to innovate more than ever. Utilizing all the value that the business intelligence generated from advanced fare management can provide will support such innovation and enable companies to lay the foundation for future success and stay on track toward achieving high performance.
Mark Elliott is a senior executive with Accenture, based in London.