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ITSO on Mobile coming in 2018

27 November 2017

Bringing the national smartcard to the mobile phone

Passengers want to buy their travel in the same way that they would buy other goods and services. Whatever they have in their pocket, whether that be cash, their bank card, a travel smartcard or their mobile phone, they want, and should have choice of how they pay for their journey. Providing choice will not only make bus travel quicker and easier, but will also encourage more people to take the bus.
Today, bus operators are embracing new technologies by transitioning to more convenient and user-friendly ticketing options. And so is ITSO. ITSO is widely acknowledged as the national standard in smart ticketing; by enabling safe, interoperable smartcard ticketing. Smartcard schemes across England, Scotland and Wales account for over 2 billion journeys a year. Whether that is concessionary (the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme) or commercial smartcard schemes, ie Robin Hood in Nottingham, Pop in Tyne & Wear, Swift in the West Midlands or the Scotland Saltirecard, ITSO technology continues to provide opportunities for bus operators – large or small.
With its national scale, and knowledge of the ticketing industry, it is no surprise that ITSO has been at the forefront of developing and evolving the technology to go beyond smartcards and allow virtualisation of the ITSO smartcard on a smartphone.
ITSO on Mobile provides an end to end mobile ticketing solution. From the operator’s retail app through to payment, fulfilment and delivery, the solution has been developed by technical experts in both the transport and mobile industries designed with ITSO Members in mind.
All components are designed to work within the existing ITSO environment – with no need for major investment in new back office systems. The fulfilment ticket cycle and the virtual card on the handset is recognised by the ticket machine (POST) as a card and the transaction processed in the same way that it has always been.
Not just providing the overarching standard to the smart ticketing solution, ITSO will be hosting and providing a central ITSO-managed transaction hub service. This “hub” will see scheme shells and products (tickets) channelled from operator back offices to a standard card emulation within the mobile phone. The solution will also enable integration with operator’s existing mobile retail components.
Steve Wakeland, CEO said “We know the pressures that operators face; budgets and congestion for one. We know that for any mobile ticketing solution to be viable for operators, it needs to be cost effective and easy and quick to implement.
All components of the solution are built to comply with the ITSO Specification and leverage existing infrastructure enabling interoperability and multi-modal interaction. This means that the solution will be affordable for operators in comparison with the cost of issuing and managing an estate of smartcards.
Cost savings are both short and long term. Initially it’s about reducing the cost of card base management. Long term is about removing less efficient methods and processes.”
As a non-profit membership organisation ITSO’s promise is to help operators keep costs to a minimum, protect the national investment in current infrastructure and explore opportunities for improving smart ticketing to better meet the expectations of the passengers now and in the future.
ITSO want to give members the confidence to enter into this new market and are keen to engage with members who are interested in being early adopters of an ITSO-on-Mobile solution to their ticketing needs.
The first public pilot of ITSO on Mobile is planned for Q2 of 2018. Initially available on all Android handsets, with a limited range of products (operator set). Further enhancements will include Apple handsets and a range of ticketing enhancements for example Account Based Ticketing; Pay as You Go (e-Purse) and concessionary tickets.

Benefits of mobile ticketing

  • Simplified ticketing - smartphone becomes the ticket machine and the ticket
  • Safe and secure – users can store payment details securely and buy tickets with just a few taps
  • Seamless travel - with a standard handset implementation for true interoperability
  • Value added - possible links to other value-added services