Industry Interview: FAIRTIQ arrives in Bremen
In late July 2021 the Bremen & Lower Saxony public transport network (VBN) became the latest addition to the fast-growing FAIRTIQ family. Today, the FAIRTIQ app can be used across Switzerland, in parts of Austria and in more than 10 regions of Germany, including Göttingen, Flensburg, Magdeburg, and of course Bremen and Lower Saxony.
VBN hopes that its new ticketing solution will attract more occasional users. All tickets purchased in the app are 25 cents cheaper than those purchased via conventional sales channels.
“For our customers, a ticket is simply a means to an end”, explains Rainer Counen, VBN managing director. “The arrival of FAIRTIQ means that they no longer have to work out what ticket they need or the best value fare for their journey. The FAIRTIQ app identifies the route they have taken and charges them the lowest fare for the journey.”
If the passenger forgets to check out when they reach their final destination, the app’s ‘Smart Stop’ feature can do it for them.
Thanks to the FAIRTIQ app, users always have the right ticket for their journey. Also, if they use VBN scheduled services several times in the course of one day, they will only be charged the price of the cheapest ticket available for their multiple journeys. Season tickets and reduced fare cards can also be stored in the app, which means that if the passenger requires a ticket that is not covered by their travel card, the app will automatically charge one to their account.
The project receives funding from the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and the joint board of VBN (ZVBN) as part of the Saubere Luft 2017-2020 programme, which seeks to improve local air quality across the country.
A little more than two months after VBN launched the app, we decided to ask the managing director of VBN, Rainer Counen, why his organisation decided to go with FAIRTIQ and how he has found the joint venture so far.
FAIRTIQ: Why did VBN choose to go with FAIRTIQ and what was the general thinking behind your decision to offer a mobile ticketing solution?
There were several reasons why we decided to go with FAIRTIQ. First, the FAIRTIQ solution is easy to use. Second, customers can use the app in any other region which uses FAIRTIQ technology and all they need to do is to set up a single account. The fact that a growing percentage of our sales are generated via our digital channels shows that public transport users want simple solutions. FAIRTIQ will help drive the digitalisation of our sales processes.
FAIRTIQ: What are your key takeaways from the pre-launch phase and the in-house implementation process?
Very positive, straightforward, focused and extremely quick. Both sides worked completely in sync. In the space of six months, we were able to roll out the solution across our services, without having to put any additional infrastructure in place.
FAIRTIQ: Have you had any initial feedback from customers since the launch in late July 2021?
Feedback has been totally positive so far. Unfortunately, the pandemic has curbed demand in general, which has had a knock-on effect on FAIRTIQ user numbers. However, these are slowly starting to pick up.
FAIRTIQ: What is it that you particularly appreciate about FAIRTIQ?
How easy the solution is to use, the functionality that the application offers, and the responsiveness of the FAIRTIQ team.
FAIRTIQ: How do you see the future with FAIRTIQ?
We would like to work together with FAIRTIQ on developing the solution further, e.g. adding more payment options and including a feature that allows more than one person to check in on the same smartphone.
FAIRTIQ: What advice do you have for other public transport companies who want to introduce a mobile ticketing solution?
Keep things easy for your customers. Using a mobile ticketing solution shouldn’t be complicated. Make it simple!