Turku is the main city in southwestern Finland and one of the major harbour cities of the northern Baltic Sea. With grand ambitions to become a future smart city, the city leaders have spent the past few years exploring innovation in public transport.
In 2015, Turku began a collaboration with mobile ticketing firm PayiQ. The city’s public transport authority – known as Turku Region Traffic – wanted to explore the possibilities of mobile ticketing as a more sustainable and convenient opportunity for customers. It tailored PayiQ’s Microsoft Azure-hosted white label application to its needs, creating a new app that was branded Föli.
The app was instantly named the Best Mobile Solution by Digital Forum Finland in Finland in 2015, for using mobile payments. The app has evolved significantly over the years. For example, in 2016 Föli became the first such service in the world to enable users to top up their travel cards within the app.
Turku Region Traffic has further expanded its ticket range by offering season and multi-tickets, along with various combination tickets. The latter can be used as bundles, for example including tickets for both a concert ticket and the public transport required to attend. The company’s latest addition is the ‘best price’ ticket that calculates the cheapest price for customers, according to how much they travel.
“We have been very happy with the Föli app and our cooperation with PayiQ,” says Topias Pihlava, development manager at Turku Region Traffic. “The number of trips made with mobile tickets has grown by 20 per cent each year for the past few years. Also, the revenue from mobile ticket sales has more than doubled. Feedback from the customers has been very positive and the app is praised for being easy to use.”
City leaders in Turku wanted to make public transport easier for everyone to use and the collaboration with PayiQ has delivered. But the benefits have reached beyond what they could have imagined: their mobile ticketing solution has helped ensure the safety of citizens in the face of a global pandemic. Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, tickets have been bought, used and validated without requiring any physical contact between drivers, inspectors and passengers.
This article was originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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