In July 2020, FAIRTIQ welcomed a new member to its growing family, the German transport provider Aktiv Bus Flensburg GmbH. Paul Hemkentokrax, CEO of Aktiv Bus Flensburg and Linus Petersen, executive assistant at the company, sat down with FAIRTIQ for a wide-ranging interview. They spoke, among other things, about the decision to go for FAIRTIQ technology, the app launch, as well as initial feedback from the Aktiv Bus team and app users and the work together with the FAIRTIQ team and Sarah Collard as Project Manager. The interview delivers a fascinating insight into the evolution of the FAIRTIQ–Aktiv Bus Flensburg partnership over the last few months.
FAIRTIQ: Why did you choose FAIRTIQ?
“We were looking for a simple and practical digital ticketing solution. What set the FAIRTIQ solution apart for us is its ease of use and intuitive design.”
AIRTIQ: Given that Aktiv Bus Flensburg is a relatively small company, was it more difficult for you to win customers round to a new sales channel like the FAIRTIQ app?
“Unlike larger transport companies, we do not have a dedicated department for this type of project. We have a small team in-house that handles the day-to-day issues and challenges of providing public transport services. Our decision to adopt the FAIRTIQ solution increased their workload pretty considerably.
Yet, there is an advantage of being a relatively small company – we are able to make decisions more quickly and easily than our larger counterparts.”
FAIRTIQ: As the project lead, how many hours did you actually spend a week on the FAIRTIQ launch in Flensburg, i.e. from the project kick-off phase right through to the app going live?
“I 'inherited' the project after the company decided to go with FAIRTIQ. Right up to the actual launch, I spent a couple of hours every week on the project. Of course, there were periods when I spent considerably more time working on it. For example, in the weeks leading up to the launch in Flensburg, I was pretty busy coordinating and implementing the marketing campaign.”
FAIRTIQ: What were the first months after the launch of the FAIRTIQ app like for your company?
“The FAIRTIQ app went live across our network in Flensburg on 15 July 2020. User numbers rose faster in the first few months than what we had expected. This was a very welcome surprise and we were delighted at the rapid uptake of the app among our customers. The considerable time and effort we had invested in the marketing strategy definitely paid off.
Initially, users commonly forgot to check out at the end of the journey. But our customer service staff quickly hit cruising speed and were able to easily rectify any problems this oversight caused.”
FAIRTIQ: What has customer reaction to the new service been like so far?
“As mentioned before, we were positively surprised by initial user numbers. Of course, the fall in passenger numbers since autumn 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic means that FAIRTIQ app use is also down. Nevertheless, user numbers remain pretty encouraging, which goes to show that there is still demand in Flensburg for this contactless, digital ticketing solution.”
FAIRTIQ: Going forward, have you any wishes as regards your partnership with FAIRTIQ?
“Two questions that our customers repeatedly ask are whether we could add a feature that lets them buy a ticket for another passenger via the app and whether we could introduce a monthly cap. We know that FAIRTIQ is already exploring both of these possibilities, so we are really looking forward to seeing what the future will bring us.”