Subscriber Login


Transit Ticketing & Fare Collection in APAC: Key takeaways from our Singapore conference in October 2018 [free access]

November 1, 2018

Global Mass Transit Research organised its third annual conference on ‘Transit Ticketing & Fare Collection APAC 2018’ on October 24-25, 2018, in Singapore. Transit authorities, operators, technology providers, ticketing associations and consultants, attended the conference. The conference was supported by six sponsors – FIME, INIT, Masabi, NFC Forum, SC Soft and Visa, and had a diverse group of speakers from transit agencies, operators, service providers, technology providers and vendors. The key takeaways from the conference are discussed below.


Silvester Prakasam, Senior Advisor Fare System Division, Land Transport Authority (LTA), Singapore spoke about the implementation of account-based ticketing (ABT) in transit. In the last few years, ABT is being deployed in various transit systems, such as Transport for London (UK), Chicago Transit Authority (US), Singapore LTA, Kochi Metrorail (India), South East Pennsylvania Transport Authority (US), Utah Transit Authority (US), Bay Area Rapid Transport (US) and Budapesti Kozlekedesi Kozpont (Prague).


Transit authorities are now moving away from stored value cards to open payment systems because public transport systems are highly subsidised and the issue and top up cost of such cards have increased significantly from 7 per cent to 9 per cent in the last few years.


Factors that acted as catalysts for open payments in transit systems in 2014 were high performance microprocessors at touch points that enabled more complex cryptography such as Europay, Mastercard, Visa (EMV), and more powerful and cost-effective back office. The advantages of open loop ticketing include the elimination of queues to recharge or buy passes, a better spread of a commuter’s monthly expenditure and freedom from having to grapple with multiple ticketing products (fare charges can be calculated to give the optimal peak and off-peak fare).


However, EMV poses a difficult business case because it faces several risks such as payment decline (on a future date when transit payment is due), incomplete transactions, card clash, etc. Further, EMV cards are slower and have a wider variation in performance. It further faces challenges during implementation as detailed below. 



Key trends and outlook in ticketing


Gopi Rengasamy, Director - Global Strategy Group, KPMG, Singapore spoke about the current and emerging trends in transit ticketing. Currently, a large number of cities in the Asia Pacific region use paper tickets as fare media, which are planned to be replaced with smart fare media in the future. Figure 1 shows the fare media split in the region in 2018.


Figure 1: Fare media split in APAC (as of 2018)


Note: 1-includes bank cards with stored value and ABT functions, 2-cities may adopt multiple fare ticketing media

Source: Global Mass Transit Reserach


The region is projected to have the highest AFC investment of around USD7.35 billion by 2020. Contactless smartcards, bank cards and mobile ticketing are planned to be deployed. Around 22 per cent of the transit agencies in the region are exploring deployment of mobile ticketing and ABT. With the rising popularity of e-wallets, the increasing penetration of smart phones and the utilisation of QR codes, the size of the mobile ticketing market is expected to grow from USD0.85 billion in 2016 to USD2.83 billion in 2021.


Deployment of smart ticketing technology is also driven by the demand for integration and interoperability. Around 53 cities in Europe and 47 cities in Asia Pacific are planning fare integration across different modes and operators.


Common mobility card in Bangkok, Thailand


Padet Praditphet, Director, Common Ticketing Office, Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP), Ministry of Transport, Thailand spoke about the ticketing system in Thailand. He stated that the objective of having a common ticketing system is three-fold. For passengers, it offers convenience and incentives; for the government, it promotes the usage of public transport by increasing public convenience and implementing national automated fare collection (AFC) standards; and for service providers, it reduces operations costs, prevents frauds and induces traffic.


The cards currently used in Thailand, MangMoom 2.0 and MangMoom 2.5, are closed loop cards. The proposed MangMoom 4.0 will be an open loop card and will be accepted in all transportation modes, including metro trains, commuter trains, river buses, and airport rail link.


Figure 2 provides the timeline for the implementation of the common ticketing plan.


Figure 2: Implementation timeline for common ticketing plan


Source: Ministry of Transport, Thailand


Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS)


Mick Spiers, Vice President, Asia Pacific Revenue Collection Systems, Thales, spoke about the company’s vision of MaaS. Congestion is an emerging problem in urban areas now and private cars and ride hailing services are adding to this problem. Estimates suggest that currently 50 per cent of the 7 billion global population lives in cities and by 2025, 70 per cent of the 9 billion people in the world will live in cities, aggravating the congestion problem.


MaaS will provide urban transport solutions that are integrated into a single platform by which users can determine the best route and price across several end-to-end travel services and modes, based on real-time data such as traffic conditions, time of day and demand. This will decrease congestion due to reduced car movements.


Figure 3 depicts the road to MaaS


Figure 3: Road to MaaS



Source: Thales


Advantages offered by the adoption of MaaS include integrated connected journeys, matching supply and demand, smart options based on user preferences, single interface, easy payment, and clearing and settling.


Efforts are being made to consolidate multiple service providers. Figure 4 indicates the difference between the current scenario where multiple operators are responsible for different functions and the situation that will exist once MaaS is implemented.


Figure 4: Advantages of consolidating multiple operators


Source: Thales


Paul Gwynn, Managing Director, INIT, Asia Pacific, spoke about INIT’s contribution to the deployment of MaaS solutions in transit. The company has deployed 120 fleet management and control systems, installed more than 130 fare management systems, and has launched ABT with open system architecture.


MaaS is related more to passenger experience than to technology. INIT’s intermodal mobility platform performs the following tasks:



The types of mobility standards are as follows:



Kaj Pyyhtiä, Co-Founder, MaaS Global, Finland spoke about the company’s whim app. MaaS Global is Finland-based world’s first MaaS operator. Its solution ‘whim’ is deployed in Finland, the United Kingdom and Belgium, and is being deployed in other locations such as Austria and Netherlands.


As of October 2018, over 2 million trips, including 150,000 city bike trips (since its introduction in April 2018) have been taken through the whim app. The whim app has been downloaded over 76,000 times since launch, resulting in over 60,000 unique registrations.


The reasons for the success of whim are depicted in figure 5.


Figure 5: Reasons for success of whim application


Source: MaaS Global


Katja Kienzl, Board Member, OSPT Alliance spoke about OSPT’s role in the development of MaaS. OSPT Alliance is taking the following initiatives for the implementation of MaaS, which are as follows:



The industry’s focus from a fare media centric to a mobility service centric approach has strengthened the case for open standards and standardisation. Open standards are developed by a collaboration of several stakeholders and their implementation is not restricted to particular devices, hardware and companies, and can be done without constraints or limitations.


Standardisation is important in implementation of MaaS due to the following reasons:



Deployment of bank cards for transit ticketing


Babak Ghaffari, CTO, SC Soft spoke about the deployment of open loop multi-modal AFC system in two cities in India – Noida and Nagpur. Aurionpro is the system integrator and is also responsible for the network and IT Infrastructure, and operations and maintenance. Sc Soft is the AFC solution and technology provider. It will design and supply hardware and software, and provide and implement turnkey solution. SBI Bank is the financial institution responsible for the supply of cards and for providing card related services.


The AFC system will be used to pay fares in Noida for the upcoming metro rail system (one line, 29.7 km, 21 stations), existing buses and parking, while in Nagpur, AFC will be deployed on upcoming metro rail (two lines, 43 km and 38 stations), buses and parking. The fare media include-


-    Rupay EMV cards: The interoperable card can be used to pay fares for other operators and cities (Nagpur metro rail for instance). The stored value card will also support offline transactions.

-    QR-code based paper tickets: Online and offline validation for single and return journeys.

-    QR-code based mobile ticketing: A mobile application will be linked to SBI wallet. The app will have a QR code, which can be tapped on fare gates or AFC machines for automatic deduction of fares.  


The Rupay card supports various online and offline applications and is expected to be largely deployed in mass transit, benefitting the unbanked population the most. The card is expected to have almost one billion potential users.


Manoj Sugathan, Senior Director, Chip, Contactless & Transit Programs, Visa spoke about ‘Smart Cities and the Future of Mass Transit’. He mentioned that the public transport operators (PTOs) in Singapore spend an average of 14.5 cents for every physical dollar collected, compared to only 4.2 cents for every digital dollar.


By 2020, over 20 billion devices to support digital contactless payments are expected to be in the market. Keeping this in view, transit agencies and operators are enhancing passenger experience by simplifying the way people pay for transit. This is expected to increase public transport ridership and lower the usage of private vehicles.


Table 1 provides details of the advantages of contactless ticketing for various stakeholders.


Table 1: Advantages of contactless ticketing

Public transport operators

Technology providers

Financial institutions

Improved passenger experience

Economies of scale

Single intra-regional acceptance

Increased ridership

Ease of replication

Increased transaction volumes

Lower operational costs

Shorten time to market

Reusable and scalable

Source: Visa


Pungky Purnomo Wibowo, Department Head of Electronification and National Payment Gateway, Bank of Indonesia, spoke about the transportation fare payment in Indonesia.


The transportation sector’s contribution accounts for around 3.95 per cent of the country’s GDP. Most fare payments are currently made using cash. Since cash transactions are less practical, less transparent, and relatively inefficient, there is a huge opportunity for the adoption of electronic ticketing in Indonesia.


Compared to its peer countries, Indonesia still lacks an integrated public transport network and hence, does not have fare integration. Transportation in Jakarta is predominantly managed by state and regional owned government enterprises. AFC will initially be implemented in Jakarta. Figure 6 shows the AFC implementation model.


Figure 6: AFC implementation model in Indonesia


Source: Bank of Indonesia


The current challenges in the implementation of AFC are the following:



AFC deployment for upcoming HSR in India


Alok Katiyar, General Manager (Signal and Telecom), National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), India spoke about the development and deployment of AFC in the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed rail (HSR) project.


The Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR project, spanning around 508 km (in Maharashtra and Gujarat) and covering 12 stations, will be the first HSR project in India. It is being developed at an investment of INR1,080 billion and is expected to be completed by August 2022.


The AFC system for the line will comprise QR-code based paper tickets, QR-code based mobile tickets, contactless smartcards, etc. The system will also have an advanced reservation system for passengers to book their seats prior to travel.


The AFC system will be open loop, future ready to accept the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), which is a proposed transit card for the country. The cards will be issued by financial institutions. Passenger and ticket information will be stored in the card itself.


Fares will depend upon train type, class (business class or standard class), time of operations (peak hour/ or off-peak hour), journey distance, age of passenger (minor, adult or senior citizen) and notified categories (differently-abled, national awardees, etc).


Angaj Bhandari, Country Manager – India and South Asia, FIME, spoke about ‘Standardisation and Quality Assurance (QA) in the AFC ticketing system’. International standards (such as Intelligent Transport System (ITS), ISO 14443 Series (for Media & Terminal), ISO / CEN TS 16794, EMV and NFC) are needed because they ensure readability between cards, avoid congestion during rush time, avoid interoperability problems between different levels, and avoid radio frequency (RF) problems. In absence of such standards, various problems arise such as dissatisfaction among commuters, revenue loss, times wastage in testing of all fare media.


Open payments are now gathering momentum because of the ease of use. The fare media needs to have no money and fares are calculated and deducted at a particular point of time in future. Figure 7 indicates the EMV certification process overview.


Figure 7: EMV certification process overview


Source: FIME


ABT for integration and interoperability


Giacomo Biggiero, Head of Partnerships, Masabi, spoke about ‘SaaS – Next Generation Account Based Ticketing’. With advancements in digitalisation, passengers are increasingly moving away from cash, paper tickets, magnetic tickets and smartcards to bankcards and mobile-based ticketing. The data stored in open fare payment media is transferred to a cloud-based service. Passengers only need to verify their identity against their account and have a payment instrument against that account.


Since passengers can easily bring in their own media and pay for transit and the back-office is cloud-based, it is easily scalable. This makes the model economical.


Transit agencies need to cater to a wide range of passengers, which include frequent and non-frequent passengers. While it is easy to cater to frequent passengers, who will have an incentive to create an account with the agency (and download the application, or use bank cards to pay fares), infrequent passengers have no such incentive, which is why it is necessary for the agency to provide them with single use or throw away tickets. In such cases, interaction can be delegated to contactless EMV or wallets. For unbanked passengers, a printable ticket can be issued. Ensuring this will lead to minimum infrastructure requirements, leaving paper tickets and passes for the unbanked and minimum validation units gates/machines.


Dina Seikh Salleh, General Manager, Transit Urban Mobility Department, Touch N Go, Malaysia spoke about the automatic fare collection system deployed in the transit sector. Touch N Go is used to pay at expressways, parking, retail, transit etc. Using only prepaid card as the payment mode initially, it has now enabled payments through various media, including wearables, app-based mobile ticketing, QR-code based mobile ticketing and now ABT. In June 2017, the company signed a contract with Alipay to enable fare payment through an e-wallet.


Mobile ticketing is an emerging trend in the country. As indicated in figure 8, despite significantly lower transaction value, both mobile ticketing and e-wallets account for large transaction volume.


Figure 8: Transaction value and volume of mobile ticketing and e-wallets


Source: Malaysian Fintech 2018


The data indicates that mobile payments, whether through mobile ticketing or e-wallets, is the preferred channel to pay. In future, the country plans to migrate from cashless and cash-based ticketing (currently in 80:20 ratio) to ABT and card-based ticketing (in 80:20 ratio).


However, the deployment faces challenges in project financing, stakeholder interest alignment, government approval and policy, technology adoption finalisation, stakeholder commitment and competencies, and time to market.


Deployment of bank cards in Malaysia


Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive Officer, Express Rail Link (KLIA Ekspres), Malaysia spoke about the country’s plans to deploy e-ticketing by 2020. KLIA Ekspres currently operates KLIA Ekspres HSR and KLIA transit Commuter rail systems, which are integrated with Kuala Lumpur Rail Transit (KL Rail).


Malaysia is one of the first adopters of cloud solutions for transit. Figure 9 shows the evolution of ticketing technology in the country.


Figure 9: Evolution of ticketing in Malaysia


Source: KLIA Ekspres


To promote contactless ticketing, the system offers discounts for online ticket purchases and ticket purchases using e-wallets. Passes offering unlimited rides on LRT, MRT and KL Monorail lines and tickets combined with non-transit services (cab rides, retail, etc.) are also launched.


Figure 10 shows card payment growth since 2014.


Figure 10: Card payment growth since 2014


Source: KLIA Ekspres


In future, KLIA Ekspres aims to ensure first and last mile connectivity among different transit systems (including cabs), and enhance the ticketing system and distribution channels.

Enhancing customer experience


OJ Kwon, Senior Sales Manager, Korea Smart Card Company (KSCC) spoke about enhancing customer experience through the interoperable T-money system.


The key factors for the success of Seoul T-money several card holders, multiple places to use and regular/periodic usage. Discounted fares for card users, distance-based fares and multiple fare media (prepaid cards, credit cards and NFC phones) contribute to higher customer satisfaction. These can be used to pay fares for buses, metro, taxi and 80,000 non transit points (including - Convenience store, parking, museum, etc.)


Recently, mobile ticketing has also been launched for express bus services. Using mobile ticketing, passengers can view their seat status, get real-time update, change and cancel their bookings, etc. Figure 11 depicts the growth rate of mobile ticketing.


Figure 11: Growth rate of mobile ticketing


Source: KSCC


With a view to enhance commuter experience, KSCC looks forward to partner with strong local IT partners and investors in future.

Perspective from India


Ashok Shankar, Deputy Manager Telecom and AFC, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), India provided an insight about the current ticketing system deployed on the system, which includes the following:



Cash continues to dominate the fare payment system, as shown in figure 12.


Figure 12: Comparison of cash vs. digital payments in Chennai Metro


Source: CMRL


CMRL is now planning to develop Phase II (107.55 km) and integrate its services with other public transport modes such as city bus services, the suburban rail system, cab operators, etc. Multi-modal integration is also planned including the development of underground parking, passenger facilities, MRTS stations, suburban stations, Chennai Central Station, bus terminal, etc.


In future, the metro system is expected to go cashless. Mobile based and account/EMV-based ticketing is planned to be deployed.


Hands-free ticketing in Singapore


Kelvin Lim, Deputy Chief Specialist (Fare System), Land Transport Authority, Singapore, spoke about the deployment of hands-free ticketing in the country. Singapore’s public transport system currently deploys the tap-in/tap-out system. With the deployment of hands free ticketing system, a passenger in possession of a fare media can enter and exit the system seamlessly, without having to tap the media at the fare gate.


Technologies that support hands-free ticketing are RFID (long range), Bluetooth, facial recognition, brain wave pattern, thermograms, etc.


Singapore LTA has collaborated with industry players to test the technology. It conducted a controlled ticketing trial. It now plans to issue RFID card or install hands-free bluetooth mobile application. The trial duration is six months. Its implementation approach is shown in figure 13.


Figure 13: LTA’s hands-free ticketing implementation approach


Source: Singapore LTA



The conference provided a platform to discuss current trends in transit ticketing and upcoming deployments in Asia. Transport authorities and operators constantly make efforts to ease the way people travel the using public transport system by integrating transportation modes and ticketing. This helps authorities save cost, time and effort, and makes public transport systems attractive to commuters.


Advancements in transit ticketing will offer numerous opportunities for technology developers, providers and vendors, providing a wider market for the deployment of new and advanced technologies in the region.