We talked to VVO Managing Director Burkhard Ehlen about the new ticketing app's first 100 days in Dresden.
FAIRTIQ: How would you describe the first 100 days of the FAIRTIQ app roll-out?
Burkhard Ehlen: It has gone very well. The app is fully functioning and stable, and there have been no technical glitches so far. Compared to other apps, the log-in process is much simpler, faster and more user-friendly.
FAIRTIQ: VVO is the first public transport association in Saxony to choose FAIRTIQ. Why did you go for this technology?
Burkhard Ehlen: For us, it is important to always stay on top of emerging technologies. At VVO, we have deliberately adopted a multiple app strategy. However, none of the existing apps use check-in/check-out technology. So, we decided to fill that gap.
FAIRTIQ: What was it like working with a start-up?
Burkhard Ehlen: Given the success FAIRTIQ has had in Switzerland and Austria, we no longer consider it a start-up. For us, FAIRTIQ has become a partner we can depend on.
FAIRTIQ: What has been your customers' response so far?
Burkhard Ehlen: The glowing feedback from users and positive press coverage on the FAIRTIQ app proved that we had correctly understood what our customers wanted: an easy-to-use public transport app. Added to this is the fact that many users have contacted us to suggest additional features which they think would make an already good app even better. VVO currently has around 7,500 registered FAIRTIQ users and roughly 1,250 of them have used it at least once in the last four weeks. Within a very short space of time, it has become one of our most popular mobile ticketing apps.
FAIRTIQ: What do your customers particularly like about the ticketing app?
Burkhard Ehlen: Its user-friendliness and easy registration process are top of the list. But they also like the fact that they don't have the fare zone worry anymore.
FAIRTIQ: How would you explain what FAIRTIQ does to someone who is not especially tech-savvy or uses apps regularly?
Burkhard Ehlen: Three words – swipe, board and go.
FAIRTIQ: What impact has the COVID-19 crisis had on the Dresden public transport sector so far?
Burkhard Ehlen: Public transport use is down by 20%, and by the end of the year it is projected that revenue will be down by roughly 30 million euros. Thankfully, our travelcard holders have not abandoned us. Many of our regular customers continue to take the bus and train on a daily basis. We're confident that the upward trend we observed pre-pandemic is not a one-off. Once the COVID-19 crisis is behind us, we will have to put climate and sustainable mobility back at the top of our agenda.
FAIRTIQ: How do you think the coronavirus pandemic and trends like digitalisation will affect the German public transport sector in the medium- to long-term?
Burkhard Ehlen: The coronavirus pandemic will only change mobility patterns temporarily because greater car use is not a sustainable alternative. Of course, we are feeling the effects of the remote working boom and many people will continue to do so. But this will never replace the benefits and creative spark that you get from interacting one-on-one with your colleagues.