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Transit Ticketing & Fare Collection in APAC: Key takeaways from our Singapore conference in October 2019 [free access]

November 1, 2019

Global Mass Transit Research organised its third annual conference on ‘Transit Ticketing & Fare Collection in APAC 2019’ on October 16–17, 2019, in Singapore. Transit authorities, operators, technology providers, ticketing associations, and consultants attended the conference. The conference was supported by Visa as the lead sponsor and by five sponsors – FIME, INIT, Mastercard, Gemalto (a Thales company), and Thales. PayiQ and Tranzer participated in the conference as part of the start-up showcase segment. The conference had a diverse group of speakers representing transit agencies, operators, service providers, technology providers, and vendors.


The key takeaways from the conference are discussed below.


Satyanarayan Ramamurthy, Head of Management Consulting, Global Strategy Group, and Government & Infrastructure, KPMG, Singapore spoke about the current trends in transit ticketing. He focused on the increasing deployment of mobile ticketing as one of the most popular fare media options in APAC. He also considered the potential of cloud-based ticketing solutions for transit integration. He noted that transit companies are changing their business model based on the perspectives and needs of customers and are identifying pain points on customer journeys. Transit authorities and transport operators need to develop solutions centred around the customer’s needs.


Suvi Schwab, Regional Manager, INIT Asia Pacific, Singapore spoke about the relevance and importance of integrated fare collection systems and fleet management. Presenting a macro perspective on the adoption of account-based ticketing (ABT), she highlighted the regions across the globe where ABT has been deployed successfully. Further, she discussed integrated and non-integrated fare management systems to analyse past trends to forecast the type of fare management systems that would be most likely deployed in the future.


Silvester Prakasam, Senior Advisor, Fare System Division, Land Transport Authority, Singapore spoke about the key initiatives of Singapore LTA. He highlighted the main attractions of deploying a closed loop system and also considered the future possibilities of an open-loop system. His main focus was on the implementation of ABT and the risks associated with its deployment. Figure 1 describes the risks associated with the deployment of ABT.


Figure 1: Risk in ABT


Source: Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA)


Ean Sokhim, Governor, Phnom Penh City Bus Authority, Cambodia spoke about the current city bus collection system, the challenges faced in developing public transit in Cambodia, and future plans to tackle this situation. Mr Sokhim also discussed the growth of the public bus system in Cambodia since its inception in 2014. Figure 1 shows the growth of the bus system.


Randolph Ian V. Clet, Project Manager – AFC System – Program Office, Department of Transportation, Philippines spoke about the AFC Manila project, outlined the projects under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ plan in the Philippines,  and discussed the future of automated fare collection (AFC) projects in the country.


In addition, Mr Clet shared the short-term action plan and the architecture of the planned National Interoperability Automatic Fare Collection System (NIAFCS) for the country. Currently, the government is conducting studies to evaluate the deployment of fare payment through tokens, EMV cards, ABT, QR code, mobile payments with QR code, and mobile payments using near field communication (NFC).


Jean-Guy Ravel, Strategy & Marketing Director, Thales RCS, France spoke about the planned deployment of ABT around the world and evaluated the benefits of changing from value on card to ABT. Mr Ravel discussed the range of service opportunities that accompany the deployment of ABT and discussed the future potential of ABT. Figure 2 depicts the spectrum of service opportunities.


Figure 2: Spectrum of service opportunities 


Source: Thales


Manoj Sugathan, Head–Chip, Contactless and Urban Mobility, Visa, Singapore spoke about ‘transit' as the future of commerce. He discussed the challenges associated with mobility such as pressure on roads and transit systems, need for developing infrastructure, need for phasing out aging infrastructure, and fragmented systems.


Mr Sugathan focused on the deployment of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and identified the key factors hindering its deployment. Figure 3 outlines the main barries to advancements in mobility.


Figure 3: Main barriers to advancements in mobility



Mr Sugathan also highlighted the following steps taken by Visa to overcome these challenges:



Oliver Redrup, Managing Director – Capital Projects and Infrastructure, PwC, Singapore spoke about the need for an effective fare policy and the importance of the various policy options available to authorities. Further, he discussed the case study of Singapore to demonstrate how the region has been successful in offering the cheapest fares for public transportation globally. He concluded his presentation by highlighting the role of private players in the industry.


Jamie Fu, Director, Business Development, Mastercard spoke about the importance of making digital ticketing work for commuters. She outlined the minimum standards that cities need to adopt for contactless Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (EMV) payments as fare payments.


Ms Fu also addressed the future of ticketing by focusing on digital intermediation and the emergence of MaaS.


Noormah Mohd Noor, Chief Executive Officer, Express Rail Link (KLIA Ekspres), Malaysia spoke about smart ticketing for smart cities. Modernising payment solutions have several benefits for customers, businesses, and operations.


Benefits to customers:


Benefits to operations:


Benefits to business:



Angaj Bhandari, Country Manager, India and South Asia, FIME spoke about the transit scenario in India and the need for third-party validation. He highlighted the characteristics of the payment and transit payment ecosystem in India and identified the complexities in transit payments. He spoke about the difference between a normal card payment transaction and a transit card payment transaction. Further, he also spoke about the importance of an independent testing and validation agency to ensure compliance and discussed ways of choosing the best testing partner.


Anuj Goel, General Manager, Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), India spoke about the deployment of QR code-based paper and mobile ticketing on Mumbai Metro Line 1. Passengers can currently buy single and return-journey tickets using their mobile phones. In future, passengers will be able to:



Further, open-loop ticketing is being planned, where standardisation in contactless technology will enable passengers to use a single card to pay fares for transit, parking, and retail. In future, virtual cards on NFC mobile phones will be used to pay fares.


Neelam Chandra, Executive Director (Systems), Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation (Maha-Metro), India spoke about the AFC system deployed on the Nagpur and Pune metrorail systems. For Nagpur Metro, the AFC contract was awarded to the State Bank of India, Aurionpro Solutions Limited, and SC Soft Pte Limited. The contract is based on the build, operate, and transfer (BOT) model, where the consortium will bear the upfront capital cost and will maintain the system for 10 years. The system deploys bank cards, QR code-based paper tickets, and QR code-based mobile ticketing.


The open-loop ticketing system enables integration with other modes of transit such as buses and feeder buses, thereby increasing ridership on the metrorail system as well. Further, it is expected to generate additional revenue through the non-fare box revenue share from financial institutions (FIs) for all retail transactions outside the metro.


For the upcoming Pune metrorail system, the AFC contractor will design, manufacture, supply, install, test, and commission the AFC system for a period of 10 years, enabling integration with other modes of transport.


Mohamed Zaimir Suffian, Resident Project Manager, Operations and Maintenance Planning of KVMRT2, Prasarana, Malaysia spoke about the fare system deployed on the existing and upcoming rail networks managed by Prasarana Malaysia Berhad.  Further, he spoke about the benefits, issues, and challenges of deploying integrated common payment system (ICPS). Figure 4 highlights the benefits of an ICPS.


Figure 4: Benefits of an ICPS


Source: Prasarana


Moving forward, gateless ticketing (long-range RFID) and facial recognition are planned to be deployed on Malaysia’s rail network.  


Matt McInnes, Managing Director–Asia Pacific, Tranzer, Australia, spoke about the company’s role in opening up the resources of public transport operators and combining this with other modes of transport. Tranzer’s aim is to successfully connect the traveller, the operator, and the product owner in what is also known as the MaaS Ecosystem, as shown in Table 1.


Table 1: Maas Ecosystem


Product owner

Transport operator


  • Buys tickets on Tranzer
  • Travels with the transport operator
  • Delivers the price
  • Authorises the sales
  • Calculates the fees owed to transport operator
  • Carries passengers
  • Accepts tickets
  • Sells and delivers transport tickets in Tranzer
  • Settles fare revenue with product owner

Source: Tranzer


Tranzer’s design principles are the following: they can work with all digital validation methods, all can be done by mobile, all can be done in less than 20 seconds, and options are offered on price, speed, comfort, and impact to society.


Pirkka Lankinen, CDO, Head of Services, PayiQ, Finland spoke about the mobile ticketing platform, which offers comprehensive ticketing options such as multimodal travel on a single ticket, access to events, and access to retail. These include flexible options that are independent of applications such as bank cards, mobile payment solutions, and digital wallets. The PayiQ TaaS platform is shown in Figure 5.


Figure 5: PayiQ TaaS platform


The main features of the PayiQ TaaS platform are:



Jean-Philippe Wolyniec, Marketing Working Group Chair, OSPT Alliance, France spoke about the shift in the industry’s focus from a fare media-centric system to a mobility service-centric system, the benefits of which are depicted in Figure 6.


Figure 6: Benefits of mobility service-centric system



He also talked about the benefits of open standards, which include:





The conference offered a platform to discuss the current trends in transit ticketing and to forecast deployments in the Asia Pacific region. Transport authorities and operators are taking a more consumer-centric approach and are adopting ticketing and fare collection systems that make the use of public transport more convenient. The importance of integrating various modes of transportation to reduce dependency on private vehicles was a consistent theme throughout the conference.


Advancements in transit ticketing, including the adoption of ABT and MaaS, are expected to offer numerous opportunities for technology developers, providers, and vendors, while making public transport more accessible to, and more user friendly for, the average commuter.