The MAAS and the new forms of payment in transport
If we say that the future of mobility involves integration, we are not telling any secret. We are talking about the integration of modes, complementarity and, ultimately, putting the users of the service at the center of the entire mobility action scheme.
The evolution that is going to take place in this field, which is going to result in a paradigm shift, is well exemplified by ticketing, that is, the way in which we pay for the service received. The tools that exist, and will exist, to carry out this evolution are multiplying based on the possibilities provided by current and future technological development.
According to the MaaS Alliance (European Mobility as a Service Alliance), a public-private association that seeks to provide a common foundation and approach to MaaS in Europe and other parts of the world, Mobility as a Service is defined by “putting users, both passengers as goods, at the core of transport services, offering them personalized mobility solutions based on their individual needs. This means that, for the first time, easy access to the most appropriate mode or transport service will be included in a set of flexible travel service options for end users”.
In this context, the new forms of payment will facilitate the use of public transport, since they will reduce one of its entry barriers, which is the uncertainty of the payment method.
Not having the transport card corresponding to the means that you want to take, for example, is an obstacle that is being jumped, facilitating payment through the interoperability of transport cards (same card, different means), through the mobile phone, or through your bank card. If we start to imagine a not-so-distant future, let’s think about fingerprint, eye, or any other type of recognition systems.
Centralization in the purchase of tickets
Related to the above, the centralization in the purchase of tickets will help to be able to use more than one means to resolve a displacement, without the need to access successive portals or payment platforms, and allowing the user to make a single payment. We contract a service that takes us from one point to another and we pay a price for it, regardless of the means used, which today can already be the most varied: train or bus, of course, but also bicycle, or scooter, or a shared car.
However, and remembering my mother, not all the forest is oregano, and the technological possibilities also carry some risks, which should not be ignored.
I am going to refer to one of a general nature, but one that I think is of great significance: the lack of communication that can be generated between the person who uses the public transport service (that is, the traveler), the company that provides said service and the entity (Administration, Authority…) that regulates it. This disconnection can happen if the portals or payment platforms are independent of the company providing the service or the regulatory entity, since the information about said person (movements they make, social profile, etc.) will be in the hands of a third party, when today, mainly through transport cards, it is found in any of these two agents.
If the person who plans, carries out and monitors the provision of a service loses this information, it is clear that their ability to perform these functions will decrease, which in the long run will be detrimental to the provision of the same. Therefore, it is necessary to know who becomes the holder of the data of the transport users, and what loss of control this will entail.
In short, it is essential to move towards MaaS, but it is necessary to know in which direction, so as not to find ourselves in unfavorable scenarios in the future. It’s time to reflect on it.