How to fill a bus (or ferry or train): Give riders what they want
Four ways to get more riders choosing public transit
Paying for transit these days can still be more complicated than it should be.
According to a Visa Future of Urban Mobility survey,1 most public transit riders (51 percent)1 use four or more different payment methods a month for their travel. They might pay for a bus with cash, a train with a city-specific transit card, a ferry with a contactless card, and rideshare with an app — all just to get from point A to point B.
Putting all mobility services on a single digital platform could make travel a lot easier, giving travelers the ability to transfer seamlessly between trains, buses and bikes or rideshares with just one platform to navigate.
The concept of Mobility-as-a-Service is gaining momentum worldwide, as people increasingly seek integrated and rider-friendly transportation solutions.1 Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of surveyed riders expressed interest in using a single platform that combines the ability to plan, book and pay for all their transportation needs.1 Here are a few improvements urban transit systems can implement to attract riders and improve the transit overall experience:
1. Adopt a single payment system.
By enabling passengers to pay seamlessly with a contactless card or app, transit systems can remove friction associated with a multi-payment system. This can not only enhance the convenience of public transit but also encourage riders to explore different forms of transit. According to the survey, more than 2 in 5 riders (45 percent)1 would be more open to trying different forms of transportation, and 2 in 5 (42 percent)1 would ride public transit more days if a single platform was available.
2. Cap fares and improve journey times.
By setting a maximum limit on daily, weekly, or monthly fares, transit systems provide riders with cost certainty, helping make it more affordable and desirable to take public transit. Nearly half of riders (47 percent)1 would use public transit more often if rides were fare capped. Improving journey times such as through efficient scheduling, optimized routes and dedicated lanes would also entice more people (52 percent)1 to choose to ride vs. drive.
3. Enable contactless payments.
A significant majority (94 percent)1 of transit riders expect public transit to offer open loop, contactless payments, according to the mobility survey. By accepting contactless credit, debit or open loop prepaid cards, transit systems can better meet customer expectations and eliminate the hassle of needing to top up and manage a separate transit card or purchase separate tickets for each trip.
4. Offer more and newer modes of transit.
Look around almost any city and you’ll see shared bicycles, e-scooters, and ridesharing services for hire — likely because they’re efficient, effective solutions for short distances, or for extending the first-last mile range of a bus or train route. Offering all these modes of transport under a single MaaS solution helps gives commuters more options for getting around, making it easier to choose public transit over private vehicles.
Tapping into modern technology, prioritizing rider preferences and integrating innovative ways to ride can create a more seamless and enjoyable experience for riders — all while making our cities more livable, more connected, and more sustainable.
Learn how Visa is helping transform urban mobility through Mobility-as-a-Service and more efficient ways to pay.
1 Visa’s Future of Urban Mobility survey, conducted by Wakefield Research in May 2023, among 11,500 respondents who take public transportation in 12 markets: Singapore, Japan, Egypt, Australia, United States, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Chile. Quotas were set for 1,000 respondents per market except Chile (500)