18 April 2024

FAIRTIQ use in Vorarlberg up by a record-breaking 40%

FAIRTIQ use in Vorarlberg up by a record-breaking 40%

FAIRTIQ looks back at its five-year partnership with VVV


"Simple, innovative, flexible"

This is how Christian Hillbrand, Managing Director of Verkehrsverbund Vorarlberg (VVV), describes the FAIRTIQ app.* As the Austrian regional transport association and FAIRTIQ celebrated their five-year partnership, surely it is time to include 'successful' to the list? VVV was not only one of FAIRTIQ's first partners, but it has also always been ahead of the pack when it comes to developing and implementing innovative fare and marketing ideas. Increasing bus and train use across the VVV network proves that the intrepid association with a penchant for "radical solutions" has made the right choice. Likewise, the FAIRTIQ app enjoyed record growth in 2023. By the end of the year, the number of journeys made with the app were up by 40% on 2022 figures. 


Driving the shift to climate-friendly mobility through service expansion and affordable fares

Attractive and constantly expanding mobility options encourage people to travel by bus and train and make it easier for them to move away from car use to more environmentally friendly modes of transport. Vorarlberg's 410,000 or so residents agree. The number of public transport users in Austria's westernmost province is steadily rising. In 2023, close to 86,000 annual passes (KlimaTicket VMOBIL) were sold, which is roughly 4,500 more than in the previous year and 13,700 more than in 2021. There has also been a sustained rise in the use of the FAIRTIQ app.

"A transport company that doesn't use FAIRTIQ is missing out on a lot. But its customers are missing out on even more: the simplest public transport system in the world."

Leveraging radical simplicity to boost passenger loyalty

In 2023, a total of 870,000 journeys across the VVV network were made with the FAIRTIQ app, a 40% rise on the previous year. A total of 22,000 new users who have moved to more climate-friendly mobility options discovered the advantages of the digital ticket. The convenience of FAIRTIQ's in-out ticketing has succeeded in attracting new and occasional public transport users, which is precisely one of the main reasons why VVV adopted the app back in autumn 2018. 

"We want to encourage more people to travel by public transport, especially occasional users. We can only achieve this goal if we come up with a solution that is radical in its simplicity."

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With the FAIRTIQ app, taking public transport could not be simpler. All that users have to do is 'swipe, board, and enjoy the ride". In Vorarlberg, the FAIRTIQ app automatically records the journeys made by the user over the course of the day, calculates the lowest available fare, and bills them later. The mobile pay-as-you-go solution is also the ideal complement to VVV annual season tickets, all of which can be easily registered in the FAIRTIQ app. The system recognises when users travel outside the zones covered by their pass and automatically works out the correct connecting ticket. The FAIRTIQ app is therefore an extremely convenient solution for anyone who prefers spending time on other things than working out what ticket they need and who want travel flexibility. 

No better advertisement than a satisfied customer

It is impossible to precisely gauge the influence that the FAIRTIQ app has on the shift from car use to public transport. However, feedback from Vorarlberg suggests that the easy-to-use FAIRTIQ app is even winning over die-hard car drivers and leading them to travel by bus and train more often. The results of a new customer survey for Austria also show that radically simple ticket solutions encourage people to make the switch. Around 43% of newly registered FAIRTIQ users stated that they had (almost) never used public transport. Roughly 19% of them said that they had travelled on public transport only once or a couple of times a month. A full 89% of new FAIRTIQ app users reported that previously they had primarily taken the car to get from A to B.

From the outset of the partnership, VVV has supported the introduction and further development of the FAIRTIQ app with high-profile marketing campaigns across its network. Ultimately, though, satisfied customers are the best ambassadors for the digital ticket. The in-app 'Member-get-Member' function makes it easier for app users to refer friends and acquaintances to FAIRTIQ. 

"We are able to enjoy year-on-year success because existing users bring new users on board."

Direct customer contact and passenger behaviour insights

At VVV, meeting customer needs is top of its agenda, and the FAIRTIQ app can help it realise this objective. A smart analysis of the data collected by the app (Origin, Destination, Mode, Route and Interchange) enables the transport operator to analyse travel behaviour, while in-app surveys enable it to be in direct contact with users, even while they are travelling. Subsequently, the operator is able to use the resulting passenger behaviour insights and the findings of its customer satisfaction surveys to improve its services. 

"FAIRTIQ's tools have two major advantages: the first is the ability to reach out to infrequent passengers and get them back on board with special offers. The second is the feedback we receive on the travel behaviour of all our customers. We can then use these insights to develop new fare structures as well as products that are tailor-made to specific target groups."

One example of VVV's responsiveness to popular customer demands is the activation of the 'companion mode' (co-passenger function) in the FAIRTIQ app. Since March 2023, FAIRTIQ users travelling in the VVV network can now buy tickets in the app for up to four co-passengers. In addition, a discount of around 30% is automatically applied if the user buys three or more tickets. Among existing FAIRTIQ users who travel on the VVV network, 13% are already travelling with companions.

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Digital sales help streamline analogue channels 

The decision by VVV to rely more heavily on digital ticketing was also based on economic considerations. It wanted to have fewer cost-intensive, little-used, unprofitable ticket machines and relieve bus drivers of the burden of selling tickets on board so that they can concentrate on driving, keeping to time and helping passengers. The growing popularity of the app will bring the achievement of these goals a huge step closer. In 2023, tickets bought via the FAIRTIQ app accounted for a little over 13% of VVV total sales revenue. 

Is an end to growth in sight? 

Given VVV's consistent record-breaking performance, it is fair to ask whether the growth curve in relation to passenger numbers and FAIRTIQ take-up will eventually flatten. Of course, there is no clear and definitive answer to this question, but experience shows that quality service provision and customer-oriented solutions allow transport companies to unlock added potential for passenger growth. According to VVV’s Managing Director, 

"It's difficult to say what public transport sales will look like in 10 years' time. One thing is certain: customer needs will be in even sharper focus and future-proof mobility will become much, much easier."

VVV never stops working to meet its passengers' needs. In 2024, The state of Vorarlberg will continue to invest in climate-friendly mobility and has set aside a budget of 50.2 million euros to this end. For its part, FAIRTIQ remains actively committed to working with its partners to optimise fare models and products. Dialogue and interaction with other transport companies and associations is an important reason to partner with FAIRTIQ – and not just for VVV. 

"FAIRTIQ offers not only software, but also a platform to exchange with other corporate partners. FAIRTIQ is also a catalyst for finding new solutions that we could not have developed on our own."

These are exciting times for Vorarlberg. All of the partners are committed to developing future-oriented public transport solutions that could pave the way for more record-breaking highs. 

* All quotes from Christian Hillbrand, Managing Director of VVV