Use of digital ticketing hits a new high
In July 2022, FAIRTIQ users in Vorarlberg, Austria, clocked up more than 50,000 public transport journeys in a single month, breaking all previous records since the Vorarlberg Transport Association (VVV) adopted the innovative Swiss mobile ticketing solution. We spoke to Christian Hillbrand, Managing Director of VVV, about this major upswing.
For four years, public transport users in Vorarlberg have been reaping the benefits of FAIRTIQ's smart technology. They simply swipe their phone screen before they board, and FAIRTIQ does the rest, leaving them to sit back and enjoy the ride, safe in the knowledge that they have the right ticket for their journey and that they will only be charged for the distance they actually travel. This winning formula has proved to be extremely popular. Recently, the number of journeys recorded in the app hit the one million mark. Before long, this had risen to 1.3 million. Also, around a quarter of all VVV one-day passes and single tickets are now bought using FAIRTIQ technology.
Fewer ticket machines and a lighter workload for drivers
In an earlier interview with Christian Hillbrand to coincide with the launch of the FAIRTIQ app in Vorarlberg, the VVV managing director pointed out that the transport association had largely used analogue ticketing solutions in the past. However, the thinking changed after an audit found that 50% of VVV’s ticket machines, which cost between €6,000 and €15,000 to buy, issued no more than 16 tickets a day.
VVV decided that it was time to phase out these unprofitable machines, as well as lighten its drivers’ workloads by gradually doing away with on-board ticket sales. Its search for a digital ticketing solution took several years. VVV ultimately chose FAIRTIQ, not least because its solution could accommodate the transport association’s particular requirements, including the digital inspection of VVV one-year travelcards. By 2018, FAIRTIQ technology had been rolled out across Vorarlberg.
Record figures despite COVID-19
VVV embarked on a large-scale marketing campaign from the get-go:
“We adopted a multichannel strategy. Our online advertising campaign generated the best results, and the smartphone was not too far behind. It generated a promo code that users were able to directly enter into the app. We also put up posters at bus stops and train stations.”
Christian Hillbrand, VVV Managing Director speaking to FAIRTIQ in 2020.
Four years on from the launch, VVV has 11,000 active FAIRTIQ users. This figure is all the more impressive given the increase in remote working and a greater desire among travellers to avoid crowds that has emerged in recent years.
In our latest interview, we catch up with the VVV managing director, who talks about what these record-breaking results mean for the transport association, and shares his personal highlights of VVV's four-year partnership with FAIRTIQ and plans for pursuing this successful business relationship in the years to come:
FAIRTIQ: In October 2021, regular FAIRTIQ users hit the 10,000 mark, and a total of 50,000 journeys were made in July 2022 alone. What do you make of these results?
We are delighted with this positive development. These figures prove that we, together with FAIRTIQ, offer a product that allows us to keep growing our customer share.
FAIRTIQ: Given the pandemic, how do you explain this sharp upswing?
Although mobility needs have certainly changed during the pandemic, demand has never fully disappeared. In times of climate and energy crisis, we need to offer users simple, low-threshold products and services that facilitate flexible bus and train travel. This is exactly what we are able to offer day in day out thanks to FAIRTIQ. The data bear this out.
FAIRTIQ: You heavily promote the app with physical advertising, and with targeted marketing campaigns like ‘Mobility Week’. Do you think that your marketing strategy is a major factor behind the increased use?
Customer surveys have shown that there are still new customers out there that we could win over. Our marketing campaigns try to target both our existing customers (through the environment and mobility week campaigns) and new users. We regularly offer new users travel credit when they sign up. This has proved really popular. "We are always there for you!" is the take-home message we want to send to both groups.
FAIRTIQ: It is nearly four years since you began working with FAIRTIQ. What moments stand out for you from this partnership?
As one of FAIRTIQ’s first partners, we can say that the last four years have been a resounding success. One particular milestone was the merger of the original version ‘FAIRTIQ vmobil’ with the classic FAIRTIQ app. Thanks to this move, our customers can now travel in all other FAIRTIQ partner regions with one app. One ongoing highlight is the month-on-month rise in usage numbers.
FAIRTIQ: Is FAIRTIQ part of any future plans you might have?
With FAIRTIQ, there is no end to new opportunities like learning more about customer needs or testing new fare ideas. We are currently thinking about launching a pilot to trial an off-peak fare, and we would also like to expand our B2B products and services.
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