Transport Ticketing: Rural and Suburban Areas Shouldn’t be Left Behind


Major cities like London already have a wealth of high-tech transport payment systems. However, in rural and suburban areas, this is not always the case — more often than not, they’re crying out for innovation and choice. The fact that these areas always get left behind when it comes to infrastructure and tech seems wholly unfair.

Transport ticketing outside of major cities is a complete nightmare. In an age when 90% of people have a mobile phone, why do we often still need cash just to get on the bus?

Even credit card payments or pre-pay systems aren’t good enough: if you’re buying online you have to put in all your details, or paying at the station could mean facing a mile long queue at a machine or window.

Admittedly, there are companies who have made distinct improvements in this area; Corethree and Go-Ahead have introduced slick mobile solutions which let consumers to pay via Android Pay and Apple Pay. However, having an individual application for every mode of transport that you take is hardly convenient.

Why not give consumers the choice to pay in a way that’s most convenient for them? If it’s cash or credit card that’s absolutely fine, but for an increasing number, paying by mobile without having to use a credit card is most convenient.

A carrier billing payment mechanic would allow consumers to pay on their phone in a few seconds, and the costs would be securely charged to their mobile phone bill — working for both prepay and postpay users.

And the best part? It’s tried and tested and it works. In Helsinki, HSL has provided a mobile operator billing solution across metro, bus, tram and even ferry services; Sunhill Technologies in Germany has allowed for carrier billing across both public transport and car parking services. Meanwhile at Fonix, we’ve seen the success that the Cowes Floating Bridge is having with our carrier billing solution, allowing passengers to pay for the ferry service in just a couple of taps.

Rural and suburban areas deserve better. Transport ticketing companies should be providing consumers with better choice, ending the awful disparity between cities and the rest of the country when it comes to tech. Regardless of where they live, mobile is the easiest payment option for many, particularly when it can be done in just a couple of taps, all through one device. Consumers will embrace this, so start making changes!