Examining the cost benefits of contactless e-ticketing in public transport

The latest in contactless ticketing technology has the capability to save public transport authorities as much as 85 per cent in costs – as illustrated by the work that the Czech city of Ostrava has done with Switchio.

Efforts to streamline public transport services through digitalisation are being spearheaded throughout the world. With more people moving to cities and relying on public transport services, there is a need to improve logistics and to make outdated fare collection systems more efficient through contactless ticketing.

Digitalisation can reduce ticketing costs by up to 85 per cent by eliminating the need for paper tickets (savings on paper and ink) and ticket vending machines. In a city with a population of a quarter of a million inhabitants, like the northern Czech city of Ostrava, the yearly savings are sufficient enough to purchase a new electric bus, which in turn makes public transport even greener.

Benefits of contactless ticketing

  • Eliminates the need for paper tickets and ticket vending machines, making contactless ticketing a greener option
  • Significant savings on ticketing costs for the transport authority
  • Faster check-in for passengers – check-in completed within 1 second in offline mode
  • Removes the need for drivers to sell tickets and handle cash
  • Enhanced public health safety – a high priority during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Aggregation of transactions results in lower bank transaction fees, with savings passed on to passengers in the form of discounts
  • Deters fare evasion.

The northern city of Ostrava is located close to Czechia’s border with Poland. The city’s public transit authority oversees almost 20 tram lines, 10 trolleybus lines and 56 bus lines in Ostrava and its surrounding area, and forms part of the larger Moravia-Silesia integrated transport system.

Ostrava was the first city in Czechia to introduce ticketing through contactless bank cards. Implemented in 2016, the system quickly became popular with the city’s commuters and visitors, as it automatically calculates the most economic fare based on a commuter’s travel history. By the end of 2018, more than half of the tickets sold by Ostrava’s PTA were purchased with contactless cards, and the resultant savings led to the decision to eliminate paper ticketing by 2020. The savings to date have been significant: Ostrava’s PTA spent roughly 20 million Czech crowns per year on the old paper ticketing system, while the new electronic system costs only 3 million crowns – a saving of 85 er cent. The PTA is considering using the savings to purchase electric buses for Ostrava.

To make contactless ticketing a reality, the PTA installed 2,500 contactless terminals throughout the tram, bus and trolleybus system. The system is driven by the Switchio Transport software platform, which also supports DESFire cards. Ostrava’s PTA has chosen the Check-in/Check-out fare model, which automatically calculates the best value fare for passengers. Currently, the system manages more than half a million transactions per month.

Switchio is proud to have been a part of Ostrava’s journey to paperless ticketing, and we look forward to working with other cities and regional and state transit authorities on developing their electronic ticketing systems. The system’s developer, Monet+, has a lot of positive experience to build upon, including collaboration with transit authorities in Tychy (Poland), Lagos (Nigeria) and Guatemala City (Guatemala).

More about Switchio

Switchio is a comprehensive fare collection platform for contactless ticketing. The platform integrates different payment and ticketing modes from all forms of transport into one seamless system, resulting in simple and secure management of payments and line occupancy. Contactless ticketing improves passenger check-in experience and reduces ticket distribution and system operation costs for transport providers. For more information, visit the Switchio website.

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