Digital tickets as a Gateway to mobility of the future

Mobile ticketing improves the efficiency of conventional ticket sales and offers public transport companies a modern, low-cost sales channel. But it can be so much more: for public transport companies, it can be a first step in the digitalisation of the public transport Network.

You can’t do anything without a smartphone these days – shopping, travelling, banking, and more. Naturally, people also want to be able to buy bus and rail tickets in the same way. Mobile ticketing offers passengers a degree of independence: they can buy their tickets whenever they want, wherever they might be. Some ticketing apps, like HandyTicket Deutschland, can be used not just in a user’s regional transport network, but nationwide. This offers customers even more flexibility and convenience. Mobile ticketing is about customer centricity.

But digitalisation encompasses more than just buying tickets via an app. Rather, it’s about providing customers with an integrated mobility concept. This is how mobile ticketing can now also open up other mobility options beyond public transport, such as car-sharing, ride-sharing, bike rentals, or paying for parking. Modern apps cover services like this all through the same application.

Public transport companies are profiting from the rise of digital mobility

  • Public transport companies and transport networks can use mobile ticketing to position themselves as modern mobility providers with attractive, state-of-the-art service offerings.
  • They can offer better service and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through appropriate offerings.
  • Sales and distribution costs for mobile ticketing via an app are significantly lower.
  • Special promotions can be implemented quickly and cost-effectively.
  • Mobile ticketing makes it easier to collaborate with other providers, such as event organisers or cultural institutions. Integrating corresponding deals is simple.

Mobile ticketing is just a first step towards a digital mobility platform. It provides access to different modes of transport as well as a wide range of sales channels. Nevertheless, customers should not have their options limited: tickets must be available to purchase via traditional sales points, online, and on the go via the app. The wide range of options and the flexibility that comes with digital channels will gradually shift the balance in favour of them over the longer term.

This is why the public transport sector should not consider mobile ticketing primarily as a technical issue. Functional technology – with appropriate back-end systems and apps on customers’ smartphones – is of course a basic requirement for any implementation. However, the focus is no longer on organisational and operational structures within public transport companies, but on customers and their individual mobility needs.

HandyTicket Deutschland is already implementing the scenarios described in this article and offers public transport companies a modern sales and distribution platform. Even public transport companies with their own, local app, can benefit from the additional advantages of participating in a supraregional ticketing platform. Third-party apps offer customers new ways to appeal to different target groups and bring with them customers who have already registered. The aim should always be to sell more public transport tickets, regardless of the channel used. Modern, customer-centric public transport companies are applying a true multi-channel strategy with multiple apps, allowing customers to decide for themselves which app they prefer to use to purchase tickets. For small transport companies that cannot afford their own app development, the option to sell tickets via existing ticketing platforms such as HandyTicket Deutschland is an interesting opportunity to offer a modern and cost-effective distribution channel. On top of this, there are no investment costs attached to using HandyTicket Deutschland.

INIT mobility package makes it easy to get on board with digitalisation

The digitalisation of public transport networks is well under way. Connected mobility and smart cities were key trends in 2017, and will continue to play a critical role in the coming years. Smartphones have become an integral part of everyday life, and in the face of rapidly increasing passenger numbers, they have become the go-to source of travel information.

For quite some time, INIT has provided its clients with an app for mobile passenger information, DEPARTURESlive, available on Android and iOS. The app shows real-time departure information for individual stops, makes it easier for non-locals to find the nearest stop through augmented reality and pedestrian navigation, enables the user to track journey progress, provides information on possible connections, and much more. The greatest advantage for INIT’s clients is the easy implementation. Provided you have an INIT passenger information system with accordingly prepared data, DEPARTURESlive can be implemented with relatively little effort.

However, digitalisation does not simply stop here, and for good reason: the process of buying tickets is justifiably considered one of the major barriers to using public transport. The INIT Group has a simple solution for this, too – in the form of HandyTicket Deutschland. The leading supra-regional mobility platform provided by HanseCom, the newest member of the INIT Group, has more than 780,000 users across Germany. This interoperable mobile ticketing platform, so far optimised for German-speaking countries, makes it easy for interested companies to get on board: no investment is necessary to start using HandyTicket Deutschland. Participating companies simply pay a small commission on each ticket sold.

The HandyTicket Deutschland application can now be fully integrated into the DEPARTURESlive app. This makes it very easy for INIT’s clients to offer their passengers an all-round, easy-touse mobility package – with minimal implementation costs.


Georg-Maximilian Michalski

Key Account Manager