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How Account Based Ticketing Improves the Traveler Experience

Travelers need to get where they’re going. It’s a simple statement, but there’s lots of complexity behind it, especially when travelers need to combine multiple modes of transport—like subway, light rail, bus, and driving and parking their own car—to get from point A to point B.

And there’s a difference between getting to your destination and getting there with a minimum of friction or frustration. Many transit agencies are considering an underused solution can dramatically reduce frustration for travelers: account-based ticketing, or ABT.

Implemented properly, ABT can transform the traveler experience by enabling:

  • Intermodal traveling with a single account
  • In-app payment using the payment method of the traveler’s choice
  • Fully informed door-to-door trip planning

In short, ABT gives travelers the information they need and the options they want for more efficient, convenient trip management.

How It Works

In most jurisdictions, a rider’s purchase involves a piece of physical media (paper ticket or reloadable card) and a choice between buying individual tickets or a pass that lets them access a capped fare. Physical media is vulnerable to loss or damage, and riders whose traveling habits are irregular may be frustrated when they pay a higher cost per trip in the pay-as-you-go model. With ABT, a rider’s account isn’t dependent on the physical media, and information about trip history and balance remains with the account. If the agency chooses, this means that a rider who chooses to pay as they go can still benefit from frequent-rider discounts—it’s even possible to pay at the end of a month and access the level of discount according to how much you traveled, because the data remains with the account.

Mobile App, Better Mobility

An ABT mobile app provides a single point of access for the traveler, accessing both 1) the financial balance of their account as they pay for rides and 2) information that can make those rides more efficient and frictionless. With information at their fingertips, riders can make decisions such as:

  • Prioritizing cost, speed, and/or environmental impact when planning a trip
  • How to connect vehicles available at access points along their route
  • Incorporating real-time information about bus arrival times to decide when and whether to go to the bus stop (e.g. if weather is affecting travel time)

The app also provides a single place to find all relevant system-wide information such as ticket prices and schedules, along with the rider’s own history of previous trips and spending. If an agency offers loyalty programs, this can all be access by the traveler from the app.

Moving Forward

ABT promises ease of use, convenience and trust. It delivers frictionless travel using a preferred mode of payment — pre-paid or post-paid, mobile or card-based. It ensures travelers pay the most competitive fares, capped as appropriate across a day, week or month regardless of operator or mode of transport.

Providing these benefits to travelers is a great way for transit agencies to meet their mission—but that’s not the only reason to implement. Forward-thinking transit agencies also benefit from ABT in many ways. Our next blog post in this series will discuss the benefits to transit agencies and the ways collaboration can be deployed for the best possible ABT implementation.

For more information on how Conduent’s ATLAS Ops ® solution can bring ABT to your jurisdiction, click here.