Anyone taking a bus or train run by VAB (the regional public transport association of Lower Main in Bavaria) have been able to use the FAIRTIQ app since January 2022. This move by VAB follows the lead of the Bavarian city of Aschaffenburg, which has been successfully using FAIRTIQ technology since summer 2020. As well as launching the FAIRTIQ app, VAB introduced a new eFare, which is more transparent, more equitable and paves the way for the digital transformation of public transport ticketing. FAIRTIQ spoke with Ioan Logigan, Managing Director of VAB, about the journey that led to the adoption of FAIRTIQ technology and what plans the association has in the pipeline.
The VAB wanted more than smartphone-based ticketing
Logigan sums up VAB's reasons for the introduction of the eFare and the FAIRTIQ app,
"We wanted to offer passengers more flexibility and make our services more attractive. We also wanted to lighten our drivers' workload and have access to better data."
However, the overriding motivation for VAB was the desire
"to remove the barriers to public transport use and bring more passengers on board with a simpler fare structure."
The roll-out of the FAIRTIQ app across the VAB network should be the first step on the way to new digital fares and their integration in the existing fare structure.
The new eFare integrates existing reductions, is attractive, flexible and adaptable
To date, VAB has used a fare zone model, as well as offering different types of series of special regional fares. The introduction of the incredibly simple eFare is a radical move by VAB. What it means is that the FAIRTIQ app calculates the fare based on the shortest route from the point of departure to the point of arrival, i.e. the distance as the crow flies. A daily cap guarantees that the fare model is fairer for everyone, from occasional users to long-distance and frequent travellers. VAB's existing discounted weekend and holiday fares are also integrated in the FAIRTIQ app. Public transport users in the city of Aschaffenburg have been enjoying the benefits of both distance-based and reduced in-app fares since 2020.
"One of the toughest challenges we faced was integrating the distance-based fare in our existing fare zone model",
"The project gave us an opportunity to gain insights and adapt our decisions to this new information."
For the VAB managing director, flexibility and creativity will be needed to integrate future fare types and structures in the digital world.
"The distance-based model is the solution of the future because it offers more options and, in my view, is fairer."
When asked about the VAB's plans for the future, his answer is clear,
"We want to continue our cooperation with the FAIRTIQ for the foreseeable future, especially on the development of different types of preferential fares."
Good cooperation and results that win over customers
The decision to partner with FAIRTIQ on the development and implementation of a network-wide eTicketing solution was driven in part by the positive experiences that the city of Aschaffenburg had with the Swiss start-up. What Logigan particularly appreciates about the FAIRTIQ app is its
"simplicity, clarity and dialogue with the customer",
"Working with FAIRTIQ has been really great and its support, in particular, has been first-class!"
But what do the passengers think? According to the VAB managing director,
"The new eFare and the FAIRTIQ app have been well received by passengers."
When the 9-euro ticket offer ended in August, VAB lined up other marketing campaigns to spread the word about its eFare and the FAIRTIQ app even further, and boost the use of its services in the long term.