RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Transit agencies must adapt to new customer expectations by orchestrating a diversified service offering with simplified payments.
  • This modernization calls for new partnerships and collaboration between private and public stakeholders.
  • A robust integrated payment platform requires a versatile partner that brings more than just technology.
  • The payment experience can be sustainably improved by investing up front in a scalable solution that can evolve according to needs and opportunities.


Tomorrow's public transport requires an integrated mobility and payment solution

Paradigm shift in public transit

Public transit ecosystems are becoming increasingly complex as new mobility solutions emerge along with customer expectations for high-quality connectivity. Agencies are also under intense pressure to transform mobility to meet sustainable development needs (economic, environmental and societal). Worse still, the pandemic has exacerbated the tension by forcing a large part of the population to rethink how they travel and turn to cars more often.

To regain customers and build their loyalty, transit agencies need to start working on the real solution, which is to offer a more user-friendly, transparent and safe customer experience.

For example, implementing an easy and secure multimodal payment solution can simplify electronic fare management through the use of smart cards. These cards can be used with many transit agencies and alternative mobility service providers, so users can travel wherever and whenever they want, choosing the most efficient way to do so on a single platform.

On the infrastructure side, they facilitate the addition of new partners or peripheral providers as needs change and opportunities arise. Since everything is integrated into a platform where all the components are interconnected, development, maintenance and security management are facilitated and data can be hosted and restored in the event of a disaster.

Simplifying the payment experience means more than connecting to a technology platform

“It’s not just about moving people from station A to station B anymore; it’s about maintaining mobility and connectivity for people and communities across all their transport requirements.”

— Michael English, Managing Director – Rail and Transit, North America Lead

Rapid transformation is critical. It requires the simplification of payment methods to enable easy use of integrated mobility services, which implies:

  1. Simplifying the rate structure (to increase and maintain ridership)
  2. Modernizing payment methods (to improve the customer experience)
  3. Planning the evolution of payment systems (to be ready for the future)
  4. Creating a single point of contact for services (to establish cohesion in mobility)

To get there, public transport agencies must first promote a strong, clear and shared vision that fully integrates public and private mobility ecosystems.

It is then imperative that they develop a strategic roadmap structured around an approach that focuses on value for the customer. In a survey conducted by Accenture of public transportation executives, 75% of respondents indicated that user influence should be greater. Wisely choosing a proven, flexible and integrated payment product is part of this thinking to make customer lives and trips easier from start to finish.

The judicious choice of a proven, flexible and integrated payment product fits into this thinking to make the customer's life easier from the start to the end of their trip.

Finally, a system integrator with the multiple capabilities required to navigate the multidisciplinary complexity required by a technological modernization project and also act as a business partner, one that understands the paths and expectations of transit users, from their point of departure through to destination; understands the ecosystem and its local particularities; maintains strategic relationships with players in the payments and digital technology community; and can provide flexible service models that meet the needs of customers whenever they use transit.

Collaboration with an innovative partner that has thorough payment expertise in the public transit sector and beyond, as well as experience in deploying large, open technology platforms, maximizes value for all stakeholders and reduces risks. Such a partner would provide better trend tracking, better integration and more proactive project and cost management, as it would be involved in all project phases, from design to implementation.

Invest now in a robust solution to support your vision of the payment experience

As transit agencies begin to explore new features and services, such as mobile tickets and open payments, the trend is to introduce targeted stand-alone features, which are often seen as cheaper options that can be implemented more quickly and are less risky.

However, such practices often result in a fragmented and inconsistent customer experience with higher integration, transaction and maintenance costs, as well as increased security risks. The coexistence of differing systems that must learn to talk to each other through interfaces and don’t age at the same rate creates potential gaps that will inevitably increase over time. This piecemeal approach makes some providers less competitive because it creates the illusion of a lower base cost, as these highly specialized products often only focus on part of the overall needs. They do not on their own enable them to position themselves for the long term.

In our view, it is wiser to design these features and services for a single platform with the potential to be developed in several stages as needed.

If introduced at the outset, integrated management will enable implementation of an open, functional, consistent, safe and ultimately less costly system that transport agencies can control through the development of a longer life cycle.

Gradually take advantage of a modular, open platform

Phasing in a single, comprehensive platform as follows will provide quick wins while laying the foundation for longer-term goals that will achieve the desired vision for the mobility and payment experience.

Phase 1 – Modernize by offering open payments

A quick launch of the open bank card payment module as the first phase in implementing a new payment platform will accelerate adoption by current and future customers, resulting in an increased and more certain ridership. Disruptions are limited as these transaction volumes represent just a small proportion of the total trips.

Phase 2 – Develop the existing ticketing module

In the second phase, the existing payment solutions can be developed directly from the strong payment platform already in place to ensure ease of use, lower costs, and a stable, consistent experience. Deploying identification information makes it possible to load cards and make payments in near real time using physical or digital identifiers and seamlessly access self-service support channels.

Phase 3 – Create a single mobility window

Creating a single mobility window completes the customer-focused ecosystem. It offers them a single point of contact to obtain information or support as well as to pay for or book travel, as the platform is flexible enough to integrate different types of transit providers, digital applications and payment options.

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Michael English

Managing Director – Rail and Transit, North America Lead


Josann L'Heureux

General Manager – Accenture

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