andrew garnett from PASSENGER transport spoke to Antonio Carmona who is leading Ticketer’s overseas expansion.
“Our ethos, in combination with a cloud native Software-as-a-Service backend, allows us to serve operators and authorities of any size with a market-focussed product at a fair price”
This looks set to be a big year for ticketing and payments specialist Ticketer as it looks to bring its popular solutions to a wider international market in 2020. Those plans have been boosted by the recent acquisition of Norwegian firm FARA, a company that Antonio Carmona, Ticketer’s recently appointed General Manager of its international operations, believes has numerous synergies with its new parent.
“The short-term impact on Ticketer’s international footprint is clear: there’s an immediate expansion and leadership position in the Nordics,” he says. “But in the longer term, we also see great value in the combined Ticketer and FARA offering.”
Carmona, who has over 15 years of experience working with cities and mobility operators, believes that Ticketer has built a leading position in the UK in record time as a result of a very simple recipe for success – namely have something really good to offer, treat your customers with honesty, support them to the hilt, and always do the right thing.
He continues: “Our ethos, in combination with a cloud native Software-as-a-Service backend, allows us to serve operators and authorities of any size with a market-focussed product at a fair price; which, in a crowded international market, is the differentiator that we trust will help us to strengthen our expansion.”
And Carmona intends to leverage Ticketer’s skills as an innovator. The company led the field when it came to introducing contactless EMV payments in the UK mobility market and with an ever growing move towards such payments within society as a whole, he believes that digital payments will be the key trend of the next decade.
“We see a consistent reduction of the use of cash globally and in all sectors,” he says. “The use of cash in public transport impacts heavily, and negatively, on the performance and user experience, whilst the new mobility services are naturally designed for digital payments.”
He believes that bank cards are a great alterative to cash, but they are not the only option out there. In developing economies, a number of alternatives to the traditional banking industry have appeared and many of these are based around the concept of the ‘mobile wallet’ – a concept that allow users to hold their funds in digital accounts on their smartphones. To receive their payment, merchants simply scan a QR code from the phone. It’s eerily familiar to the QR-code based system that Ticketer has had in place for some time.
However, Carmona believes that account-based ticketing will be the real game. “It is more than just a technology; it is a new customer relationship model that brings an incredible user experience,” he says. “It is no longer important what you bring to enter the mobility network but who you are.”
Today these systems use contactless bank cards, mobile phones or smart watches as tokens but Carmona believes the next decade will see a reduction of friction in the way the users are identified. “The most natural and convenient method being biometric identifiers, such as our faces,” he adds. “After all, our faces are the genuine proof of who we are.”
These new forms of technology are also changing the mobility landscape too. The 2010s saw the rise of the smartphone and the digitisation of payments. This has spurred on a range of new alternative mobility modes, from vehicle-sharing, to ride-hailing and, more recently, micro-mobility. However, the financial performance of some of these innovators has been wanting. Carmona points to a number of free-floating bike-sharing, moped and scooter sharing operators who have come and gone. Meanwhile, a number of well-known industry players in the ride-hailing space have also struggled financially.
“The new mobility modes cannot exist by themselves alone,” he adds. “There is however, an unmatched opportunity for public transport to lead the way. It is difficult to beat mass public transport when it comes to capacity, efficiency, and cost effectiveness in congested cities, and therefore it must remain as the backbone of mobility.”
He believes that the 2020s will be characterised as the era of an extended interoperability, and extended fare integration. This will go beyond traditional public transport and will put the passenger at the centre, where an informed and digital customer will be able to choose among a number of door-to-door mobility alternatives, that will be consumed seamlessly.
“It will also be decade of data in transport,” Carmona adds. “Mobility operators will start to build and exploit intelligence from the data they collect. This will give them more insight into their customers’ requirements and therefore be able to better tailor their products to passenger needs.”
MaaS will Transform Personal Mobility
Ticketer believes that the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concept will come to the fore through the coming decade and act as a game-changer, stimulating significant modal shift.
“We understand MaaS as an extended interoperable mobility network; where public transport is complemented by a number of new mobility modes,” explains Carmona. “In this context, we see a bright future for public transport, with micro-mobility and other first and last-mile networks bringing more passengers to main transit routes.”
He also suggests that some low demand fixed bus routes could be converted to an on-demand-style operation, a move that will offer an even better service to passengers. “It will allow sustainable mobility to finally win the battle against the private car,” Carmona adds.
Featured in ‘Public Transport 2.0 – The future of travel’ in February’s edition of Passenger Transport