MVV pilot project gathers valuable research into eTickets for infrequent users
Infrequent users are a great potential for increasing ridership on local public transport. Encouraging them to use trains, buses and trams is an essential step in the transition towards increased mobility. In the “Swipe + Ride” pilot project, the Munich Transport Association (MVV) tests different tariff models in order to find a suitable offer for infrequent users.
“Swipe + Ride” eTickets (or Automated Ticketing or PAYG ticketing) is an advanced technology for ticket distribution. In contrast to "conventional" distribution channels, travellers no longer buy a ticket before their journey. Instead, the start and destination of the journey is recorded by checking-in and checking-out via a smartphone app. At the end of the day, the system calculates the best possible price for the journeys completed.
FAIRTIQ (FTQ) Lab App enables test applications and the implementation of the learning project
The pilot project has been running since October 2020. MVV wants to improve access to public transport for infrequent and occasional users. They also want to research the impacts of different tariff models on the usage patterns and satisfaction of passengers.
From the outset, Swipe + Ride was designed as a learning project, where the price of the eTicket and other test parameters can be modified during the project. The FTQ Lab App, which was specially developed for test applications and pilot phases, is used for the project. This makes it possible to test fares on a limited number of test customers and to obtain informative results - using the innovative FAIRTIQ check-in/check-out technology. FTQ Lab App operates completely separately to the production ticket sales channels.
Straight line vs. direct route: two distance measurement models undergoing testing
In the two and a half years since the pilot was launched, different pricing models have been tested. In the first phase, the fare was initially determined based on the linear distance between the starting point and the destination. In the second phase of the project, which has been underway since March 2022, another group of pilot customers was established. Their fare is calculated according to the route taken, the total distance of the stops they pass through. The second fare, which calculates the route taken, more accurately reflects the actual distance travelled.
Around 14,000 test customers participate in the project
As part of the pilot project the number of FTQ Lab App users was limited to 10,000 for the linear fare and 4,000 for the route fare. It was particularly important to MVV that the members of the test groups were representative of the population. For each of the two groups, quotas were set for participants from the city of Munich, from the interconnected districts and from areas outside the MVV area.
In December 2022, the Swipe + Ride test area was also expanded to include the Regensburger Transport Association (RVV). Since then, test customers whose origin and destination are in one of the two transport networks (MVV or RVV) can also travel with the eTicket across the network. Zone boundaries, which often represent an obstacle for occasional users when buying traditional tickets, do not exist for pilot customers.
Travel even cheaper with discounts
Since the start of the project, a total of three different bonus or discount models have been tested, which, depending on the number of journeys taken, automatically generate a discount reward of up to 30% in the following month. A daily spending cap ensures cost security on a daily basis.
In-depth market research confirms high satisfaction rates among test customers
The project is supported by thorough market research conducted by RMS GmbH. The pilot customers' satisfaction is assessed in regular surveys. According to the surveys’ results, which were last presented in March 2023, 96% of the pilot customers are fully or very satisfied with the overall project. 92% would recommend the eTickets to others. The functionality of the FTQ Lab App is rated “good” by the users, as is the linear distance pricing, the discounts and the daily caps.
In addition to providing feedback as part of the market research, the test users can also continuously give feedback via the app, online and via customer service. These tips and suggestions are used to further develop the eTicket and implement new features in the app.
Swipe + Ride helps customers' ideas become a reality
FAIRTIQ’s roadmap of new product features has also benefited from the feedback from the trials, for example, the Smart Stop feature was introduced in April 2021 at the request of the test users. Since August 2021, there has also been an online price calculator that can be used to determine the fare before the journey. Work is currently underway to fulfil the users' request for a payment option via SEPA direct debit and to offer companion mode.
Direct participation in the project is also possible and strongly encouraged. After completing their journey, test users can evaluate whether it was recorded correctly or incorrectly. In some cases, they are also actively asked to provide feedback. The aim is to improve journey tracking and further optimise the FAIRTIQ app.
Learning outcomes for the future and beyond the borders of the fare network
The Swipe + Ride project will conclude at the end of 2023. MVV will then have valuable accurate origin, destination and route data from 14,000 travellers over a period of three years. The conclusions drawn from the test will help inform decisions on further actions to plan the transport network by MVV, its shareholders and other project partners. The information will also be used to help assess the overall revenue impact of future tariff and discount innovations.