Open tech is transit's ticket to future relevance
In business, we frequently see examples of organizations embarking on technology projects in the hope of simplifying technical complexities and extracting a promising return on investment.
This strategy is full of risk. If a supply chain is single-source, the damage can be extremely serious. The problem is acute in the transport ticketing payment space. Public Transport Operators and Public Transport Authorities often fail to identify these challenges as they tender for cards. They have the impression that there are several possible suppliers and may not recognize that the chip behind the card can often be from a single supplier.
It places these organizations in an extremely vulnerable position in case the company runs into financial or regulatory difficulties. There is also a risk of being stuck with a service that becomes more expensive over time, locked into a contract with diminishing ROI. 2020 has brought this possibility firmly into focus and highlighted the need for companies to have more flexibility in the future.
Open technology, free from any manufacturing monopoly, is both more economical and more adaptable to future technology or societal changes. Open standards developed specifically to support a global industry provide the certainty that multiple sources of supply exist, and that the failure of one source has limited consequences.
Simplifying transport ticketing for all players, whether users or suppliers, not only ensures sufficient freedom to operate with resilience, but also encourages innovation. This reduces complexity for passengers, encouraging greater uptake of public transport services.
The mobility market is expected to be worth more than $280 billion by 2027, up from $52 billion in 2019. But this growth will be hampered if the transport and mobility communities cannot control and evolve the smart ticketing ecosystem themselves. This is vital in helping them stay one step ahead of future requirements.
As the transport ticketing market evolves in the wake of the pandemic, further intensifying the challenges caused by the dominance of proprietary systems, it’s time to see a more open, collaborative public transport ecosystem. Dedicated players within the transport space have an opportunity now to define, drive and deliver a standard that enables passengers to easily pay for their journey, no matter what city they're in or which mode of transport they use, from first mile to last. In 2021, it’s time to reduce market fragmentation and provide a robust ticketing and payment system that is resilient to the risks of working with one provider.