Buying the right ticket for your journey should be as easy as A, B, C. The German town of Ingelheim, RNN (the regional transport association) and INGmobil agree. They wanted to find a simple and practical technology that relieves passengers of the stress and hassle of working out the best ticket for their journey, making sure they have the correct change for the ticket machine and date-stamping their ticket before they board. RNN issued a call for tenders; the FAIRTIQ submission ticked the right boxes and Ingelheim launched the winning technology in early 2022. Users of the FAIRTIQ app can purchase one-way tickets for adults and children, as well as single one-day travelcards. They can also register their BahnCard 25 or BahnCard 50 in the app, and the ingenious technology automatically includes the applicable discounts when calculating the fares the user owes.
The FAIRTIQ pilot will run until the end of 2023 and will be available to anyone travelling in Ingelheim (price level 21 within zone 320). Gau-Algesheim is currently outside the area of validity.
“As a provider of mobility services, the Rhein-Nahe Nahverkehrsverbund feels that it has a responsibility to invest in sustainable systems for our region. The Ingelheim pilot is a first step. Once the test phase of the ticketing system is complete, we have plans to introduce it in the outer areas of the RNN network”, Silke Meyer, managing director of the RNN, speaking during our short interview with her.
“How can we make public transport a more attractive proposition and reduce transport emissions? Our answer: By making public transport free of charge across the city of Ingelheim at night, over the weekend and on public holidays”, Dr Christiane Döll, Ingelheim am Rhein city councillor, explains the thinking behind the project.
What this means in practice is that FAIRTIQ users can travel free of charge in Ingelheim from Monday to Thursday between 9pm and 4am, on Fridays from 6pm, as well as all day Saturday and Sunday, and official bank holidays (Rhineland-Palatinate) too. In other words, travellers can try out the application absolutely free. However, they will still need to ‘buy’ a ticket in the FAIRTIQ app when using public transport during these periods, but the system will not charge the resulting fare to their account.
Silke Meyer, Managing Director of RNN, spoke to FAIRTIQ about the mobility provider’s decision to introduce a time-dependent zero-pricing option.
Interview with Silke Meyer, Managing Director of RNN
FAIRTIQ: Why did you choose the FAIRTIQ solution?
The Rhein-Nahe Nahverkehrsverbund (RNN) was looking for a mobile eTicketing provider that could offer a check-in/check-out app solution. FAIRTIQ fitted the bill. Not only did the FAIRTIQ submission satisfy our requirements, its technology is also easy to implement. A good example is the time-dependent zero fare that we are offering during the pilot project thanks to FAIRTIQ technology and financial support from Ingelheim.
FAIRTIQ: What do you particularly like about the FAIRTIQ app?
What I love the most about the check-in/check-out app is its simplicity. I don’t have to look around for the name of the stop I am at or work out what stop I have to get off at. All I have to do is slide the Start button, hop on the bus and the app does the rest.
FAIRTIQ: How did the highly innovative idea of a time-dependent zero fare come about and what has passenger response been like so far?
Ingelheim is a zero-carbon town, so it is important to be able to meet the mobility needs of the population but in an environmentally and climate-friendly way. This is how the idea came about to make public transport free at certain times and on certain days. It gets people interested and incentivises them to take the bus or train. At the same time it helps to reduce greenhouse gases and makes fuller use of bus capacity off-peak. As a mobility provider in the region, RNN developed a concept and explored a range of options. Together, we concluded that an app-based zero-price ticket was the best solution. For many passengers, free public transport use is the clincher: most of the individuals who have used the app over the last two months did so at times when the zero fare applies.FAIRTIQ: Inwiefern konnte FAIRTIQ Sie bei der Erstellung des Nulltarifs unterstützen?
FAIRTIQ: Did FAIRTIQ help you with the introduction of the free fare programme, and how?
Thanks to FAIRTIQ, the zero-fare programme is easy for everyone involved. All passengers have to do is slide the Start button, hop on and head off. No matter when they travel, the app calculates the right fare for the journey in the background. For RNN, the technical implementation is well-managed because all journeys are recorded digitally, reports are generated and made available and the settlement of all corresponding bills with the public transport companies and Ingelheim is guaranteed.
FAIRTIQ: Do you have any other digital ticketing-related projects in the pipeline and do you plan to continue working with FAIRTIQ?
The launch of FAIRTIQ in Ingelheim is part of a two-year pilot project. We want to find out if people are ready to use a digital solution and if they will use the app outside those times when the zero fare applies. We are working on new features that will make the FAIRTIQ app even better suited to our customers’ needs. If the pilot is a success, we can well imagine pursuing our cooperation with FAIRTIQ and to roll out the technology in other RNN network zones.
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