Access to customers is critical to success - looking back at HanseCom Forum

How can public transport retain customer loyalty in the face of digitalisation? By providing access via the right channels – that was the answer that emerged from the fifth HanseCom Forum in Hamburg.

Traditional public transport providers are facing competition for customers from new mobility providers. The only way to ensure long-term customer loyalty is by providing personalised offerings. Access to customers will be critical to any public transport provider’s long-term success. What form this access can take was the key point of discussion at the most recent HanseCom Forum, held last November in Hamburg. Around 150 participants assembled to discuss current challenges facing the public transport sector.


Season tickets via mobile ticketing

Mobile ticketing apps are an important customer touchpoint nowadays. The Rheinbahn (Düsseldorf) is the first German public transport company to provide season tickets in a mobile ticket form. The smartphone season ticket project started with a special ticket for young apprentices. The YoungTicketPlus is based on the existing HandyTicket Deutschland and the online season ticket solution from HanseCom. The medium-term plan is for Rheinbahn to make all its season tickets available as mobile tickets.

A common question surrounding the use of ticketing apps is whether public transport providers should focus on one key app or allow customers to use a range of different apps. The Verkehrsverbund Oberelbe (VVO) recently decided on the latter, because its different customers have different requirements. Similarly, the Karlsruher Verkehrsbund (KVV) is taking a multi-app approach with six different apps to properly address its different target groups.

Photo: Magistra Alexandra Reinagl, Managing Director of Wiener Linien

Distribution partnerships open up new routes and revenue sources

The Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) is taking a groundbreaking new approach: The VBB has entered into intermodal digital distribution partnerships with other companies involved in passengers’ full journeys.  

An effective mobility platform is essential

A centralised mobility platform that integrates all customer data provides the essential technological framework to sustain long-lasting customer relationships. HanseCom Forum attendees were in agreement on this. 

The Wiener Linien, Austria’s largest public transport provider, has already implemented a centralised platform. It allows customers to access all digital tickets, plan routes via taxi, car-sharing, or bicycle, and flexibly combine multiple modes of transport in any journey. The Hamburger Hochbahn is currently rolling out a similar mobility platform. It will form the basis of the company’s entire distribution architecture and will enable efficient and personalised communication with customers. Customer data in both Vienna and Hamburg is managed using HanseCom’s dedicated distribution and customer management system, PTnova.

Digitalisation demands new strategies

“Digitalisation means people have come to expect variety, flexibility and easy integration of different products and services. They also expect this as passengers using public transport,” explains Martin Timmann, CEO of HanseCom. “Our conference generated valuable inspiration for public transport companies and networks that will prompt them to evaluate and perhaps reconsider their current strategies. It also presented technical solutions that will allow the public transport sector to master these new challenges.”

The next HanseCom Forum will take place from 14 to 15 November 2019 in Hamburg. For more information and to register to attend, see:


Juliane Fenske

Director Business Development & Marketing

HanseCom GmbH


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