Montreal-based Transit, which has a strong presence in North America for trip-planning, is among the first such apps to enable ticketing and payments, connecting to software-as-a-service ticketing platforms like UK-based Masabi, U.S.-based Token Transit and, more recently, U.S.-based Bytemark.
Table: SaaS ticketing platform providers–major agencies, pricing, trip-planning apps working with
The trip-planning Transit app announced that it has handled more than 1 million fare transactions since April 2019, when it started enabling ticketing and payments through its app. Although ticketing through third-party apps still makes up a small percentage of fare payments for agencies, Transit says the transactions are growing rapidly.
Montreal-based Transit, which has a strong presence in North America for trip-planning, is among the first such apps to enable ticketing and payments, connecting to software-as-a-service ticketing platforms like UK-based Masabi, U.S.-based Token Transit and, more recently, U.S.-based Bytemark. Rival trip-planning apps Moovit and Google Maps (the latter through Google Pay), and to a lesser extent Uber and Lyft, are also enabling users to book and buy tickets in their apps, as Mobility Payments has reported. The trip-planning app providers seek to offer users more convenience by enabling them to plan, book and pay in one app. Both Transit and Moovit say they are trying to create a mobility-as-a-service, or MaaS, experience for users.
Transit said Thursday it has more than 50 transit agencies selling mobile tickets through its app, accounting for more than 130,000 customers and more than 1 million fare transactions. Some of those transactions are monthly, weekly and daily passes, so the transactions amount to millions of rides, Transit added.
And the trip-planning app provider said the number of fares sold through its app has nearly doubled since the start of 2021.
The first agency Transit signed up is believed to be St. Catharines Transit, a bus operator in Ontario, Canada. Other agencies it has since gone live with are those serving such mid-tier North American cities as Denver, Cincinnati, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Dayton, Buffalo, Oakland, CA, and Saskatoon. But most of the agencies are smaller bus operators, including those Transit has enabled through SaaS ticketing provider Token Transit. These are some of the same ones Google and Moovit have enabled, as Mobility Payments has reported. And Moovit recently told Mobility Payments that it also was enabling ticketing for more than 50 transit agencies through its trip-planning app, with more to come.
The trip-planning apps connect to the SaaS ticketing providers either through an SDK, as with Masabi; or an API, as with Token Transit and Bytemark. These SaaS platforms already offer mobile ticketing to the agencies directly through white-label apps they provide or, in the case of Token Transit, in a consumer-facing app. After the SaaS platforms integrate with the trip-planning apps, it’s not difficult for transit agencies that are clients of the SaaS platforms to also sell their transit tickets through the third-party trip planners.
Some agencies, such as the Greater Dayton RTA and Metro of Cincinnati, both in the U.S. state of Ohio, make Transit their default apps for their customers, for trip-planning and also for booking and buying tickets.
Customers using the trip-planning apps usually validate tickets by showing them to the bus driver for visual inspection, but a growing number of agencies are installing validators to scan bar codes on the electronic tickets or enabling customers to load value to account-based contactless closed-loop cards, which the customers then tap on readers on board the vehicles to pay fares. The agencies pay a commission to the SaaS ticketing providers, usually a percentage of the transaction amounts or total mobile-ticketing revenue. At least one SaaS ticketing provider said it doesn’t charge extra for agencies to sell tickets through trip-planning apps it has integrated with.
Transit said it now sells tickets for more than 20 agencies through SaaS platform Masabi, more than 25 agencies through Token Transit and one through Bytemark, which it started working with only recently.
As Mobility Payments has also reported, some agencies that began selling tickets through third-party apps, such as Transit, one to two years ago, still see the vast majority of their mobile ticketing sales through their own white-label apps. That is true for RTD Denver and RTC of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, both of which sell more than 95% of their mobile tickets through their own apps. Mobile ticketing, in turn, makes up about 15% to 25% of ticketing revenue for these agencies.
On the other hand, agencies that make Transit their default app are naturally seeing a higher percentage of their mobile-ticketing revenue though the trip-planning apps. That includes the Greater Dayton RTA, which said 30% of the total trips it handles–paid for by any means–are now paid for through the Transit app, though that is slightly down from 35% in January, before the agency introduced contactless fare cards.
“Different agencies take different approaches to mobile ticketing,” the Transit spokesman told Mobility Payments, adding that a “growing number of agencies have selected Transit, rather than a standalone mobile ticketing app, as their preferred app for riders, since we work with agencies to provide a seamless experience that combines real-time trip planning, fare payment, on-demand transit and connections, such as bikeshare.”
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