Taking transport in the right direction

Public transport can make a big comeback as cities start moving again – but operators need to build passenger confidence

Shyam Sunder
By Shyam Sunder on 16 September 2020
Taking transport in the right direction

Public transport is often a city’s oldest brand, run by agencies that took years to digitise. Old-school issues still exist, such as cumbersome physical ticketing and a lack of direction about which bus to board and where to get off. These gaps make city travel uncomfortable for many people.

Today’s economic uncertainty and reduced spending will drive a high influx of public transport users as people hold onto their money and manage low-cost travel. It’s a big comeback opportunity for public transport if operators can resolve a major issue: passenger confidence. 

Achieving 98 per cent assurance of safe travel without infections is a tough expectation. Most commuters will spend their money on personal protective equipment (PPE) and look for ways to use smartphone-based travel tickets. With various innovations in place, public transport operators may also do away with onboard validators and implement beacons to manage hop-on/hop-off automated tickets.

In the ‘new normal’, public transport providers will need to plan, calibrate and provide a new set of directions to passengers. These include how passengers should be seated, use of online seat booking or in-vehicle seat numbering, touchless ticketing, sanitisation of buses, the use of PPE and even infrared thermal cameras to check on passengers flouting the rules. 

At PayiQ’s technology kitchen, we have been working to create a Covid-resilient ticketless product that allows public transport operators to reduce their capital expenditure. Instead, they can rely on our technology and phone ecosystem to bring huge convenience to riders. And they can use our digital infrastructure platform to draw focused plans, enable ground-level collaborations and make it easier for themselves – and the governments managing them – to meet present and future obligations.

Our full-featured application for public transport can support multimodal automated hop-on/hop-off services, enabling payment for services across bus terminals and train stations or on trains. It can provide notifications to customers about routes, timetables, ticket types and purchases. First-mile and last-mile door lock/opening is also available, and it can even provide health updates to commuters who may or may not have been exposed to Covid-19. Commuters can communicate about their own health by taking temperature readings and sharing them with public transport authorities via a QR code. This way commuters are self-responsible for every journey they make on public transport.

PayiQ’s technology leverages low-cost adoption for public transport bodies in the current scenario, so they can be ready for when cities start moving again. 

Shyam Sunder is vice president of global sales at PayiQ

This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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