Frankfurt transport company Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt am Main (VGF) has been an INIT customer since the 1990s. INIT supplied the hardware and software for their current ticketing system in 1997. Since then, enormous technological developments have been made. This is why the time had come for VGF to update its ticketing system. INIT has once again been commissioned to provide this technology for the five transport operators that take care of the city bus service on behalf of traffiQ, the public transport authority. Each of their 350 buses will be integrated into the new central ticketing system of the infrastructure and sales service provider VGF by April 2018.
The aim of implementing a new ticketing system in Frankfurt was to meet the complex public transport requirements of today. That’s why the new ticketing system will be based on the VDV core application, equipped with state-of-the-art features, and be multi-client capable. This means that the previous background system, MOBILEartist, has to make way for its successor: MOBILEvario.
The changeover will enable the various clients to use the ticketing system and to benefit from it mutually. For example, they will share access to the relevant information about pricing and the network, without actually being able to view the other clients’ individual data, such as invoicing and sales figures. In addition, MOBILEvario significantly speeds up ticket administration and clearing and is far more flexible. Integrated interfaces ensure an optimal flow of data and connectivity to third-party systems. As such, minimal effort is required for importing pricing information from the transport association Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) as well as network information for fallback operations and export of sales data. As a result of the newly implemented VDV core application, electronic fare management (EFM) will also be available in the Frankfurt buses.
With regards to hardware updates, the focus is on the 350 buses that keep urban transport in Frankfurt going. These buses will be equipped with one ticket printer EVENDpc2 and one passenger terminal PROXmobil2 each. At this point, flexibility is again extremely important. The onboard computers can therefore be used in various ways and can even be exchanged among the transport operators. The relevant client identification is hardcoded on the mounting plate which is a fixed component within the vehicle. In turn, the client can also be changed manually which might be necessary if a vehicle is used by multiple transport operators.
For the vehicle equipment, the requirements of electronic fare management were as important as they were for the back-office system. Thus, both the driver and the passenger terminals support – according to the current standard – all forms of e-ticketing. Drivers and passengers alike will benefit from the convenient and intuitive handling of the devices. This lays the foundations for the rapid acceptance of the new system. In addition to electronic payment and ticket options such as smartcards or barcodes, traditional ticketing options will still be available. This means that passengers will have the opportunity to purchase paper tickets from the driver and pay cash – even in the future. That’s why the drivers’ cabs will also be equipped with 250 INIT cash desks.
A specialty of this project is that INIT has been commissioned to take over IT hosting and data management as well. Consequently, INIT will provide VGF with a comprehensive service package for the technical operation of the system. This includes the provision of the relevant IT resources and infrastructure as well as the extensive processes of importing, processing and exporting various sorts of data.
For instance, INIT is responsible for the data handling of the VDV core application and the RMV control information module, and ensures that the current network and pricing information is also available in the ticketing system. Furthermore, INIT takes care of numerous testing and monitoring processes.
In consultation with the authority trafficQ, VGF raises the Frankfurt bus ticketing system to the next level. The new system combines the advantages of established ticketing options with the strengths of modern solutions. At the same time, it is open for new developments. The new system is expected to go into operation by April 2018.
Frankfurt am Main places particular demands on public transport due to the high numbers of visitors the city receives. In addition to the 700,000 residents, there are 350,000 commuters during the week. Last year alone, a further 4.8 million tourists visited the city. This transforms the largest city of Hessen into a metropolis in which over a million people are in transit every morning.