In this first Transit Voices podcast episode, Masabi co-founder Ben Whitaker talks to David LeIninger, who has worked in the transit industry for decades, particularly in financial and budgetary roles.
The two talk about removing fare boxes from bus fleets and why the removal of some forms of passenger payment options is required to ensure maximum efficiency when introducing new options. “Some things need to disappear that you previously been doing,” David comments, “Otherwise, you're just wearing one payment technology on top of another. So if you don't take some things away, you're not actually reducing the cost of payment for the agency.”
Ben agrees, but adds that removing cash payments on buses isn’t just about cost savings, but speeding up passenger boarding times. “Preston bus in the United Kingdom did an assessment on the boarding speed on a bus for passengers who are buying with cash as they bought,” he explains, “and it was somewhere nine, ten, eleven, twelve seconds. Those who were just tapping a bank card, or using a mobile ticket or any pre-purchase ticket, they were boarding in just less than two seconds.”
The advantages to this, he adds are, “phenomenal”, saying “every time the bus gets to a new stop, everybody on the bus has to wait all of those extra seconds while everybody who boards is paying in cash and it's slowing the vehicle down. If you get everybody to board with a pre-purchased ticket, whether it's a mobile ticket, or a bank card, or a pre-loaded ticket, or a receipt-paper pass bought at a convenience store network, all of them are boarding in under two seconds,” which means that the bus gets moving quicker.
During their discussion they also talk about how smaller agencies could leapfrog bigger ones in terms of using smart technology, on-demand transit and the value of Account-Based Ticketing where Ben talks about simplifying the way people pay to travel, “We've had a number of college pass systems where instead of having to issue transit agency cards, we're just reusing the ID cards issued by the college to their students, and tying their travel entitlements to their enrolment periods,” he says, while David adds that even a decade ago he knew the future would be mobile explaining, “I concluded was that we needed to put everything we could on mobile with it, and when I looked at how many corporate passes, we had big employer passes… if we didn't do that, we weren't gonna get the numbers, we weren't gonna get the utilization rates and the total counts that we needed to make this thing worthwhile. That for me, that was always a given so we and the employers were quick to say ‘perfect, because we're tired of handing out all these physical passes’.”
They also discuss which technologies they think are being overhyped, and which are not being utilized enough, and David gives his view on who should be a future guest on the show.
Don’t miss this half-hour of discussion!