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Recharging system for public transport season tickets

Bologna

Bologna has a new fare system that integrates bus and train tickets and offers contactless smart cards for season tickets. The city wants to improve the recharging system for these smart cards to make the service more attractive.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Bologna has introduced the new integrated fare and ticketing system that foresees season tickets as contactless smart cards. One of the key aspects for the success of such a system is the creation of a widespread network of recharging points for season tickets cards. The measure implemented a recharging service available at self-service points (ATMs)  of banks that are already used in every day life and familiar to citizens. The main objectives of this measure are to:

  • Increase the quality of the public transport service; and
  • Increase public transport use.
How did the measure progress?

The measure started with contacts with banks in order to evaluate the feasibility of the system and  they showed great interest for this new system. After the feasibility study the system was implemented and started in September 2011 coinciding with the period of renewal of most season tickets. Season tickets can be recharged each day round the clock at 313 ATMs in Bologna and province. From September 2012 the service is also available through the PT company website http://www.atc.bo.it/abbonamenti-online, thus allowing customers to renew their season tickets online using their credit card. An intense information campaign was carried out to promote the new system. It was addressed to season ticket holders through different information channels: directly at home with information material (about 30,000 letters sent to annual season ticket holders); on the buses and at the bus stops with information poster (about 3,500 posters); through e-mails to the users registered to the TPER info-mail service (about 2,000 mails); through TPER official web site: http://www.tper.it/biglietti-abbonamenti/ricarica-labbonamento-al-bancomat ; through Regione Emilia Romagna web site: http://mobilita.regione.emilia-romagna.it/mi-muovo-1/le-nuove-possibilit... ; finally, through articles in newspapers. An information campaign is still being carried out also in cooperation with the bank circuits. Evaluation activities based on the data collected through the system (for example referring to the number of recharges and the typologies of the purchased season tickets) have been completed, as well as a phone survey (conducted in June 2012) on customer satisfaction and service accessibility, which involved 500 season ticket holders: 250 who used the new recharging service and 250 who didn’t. The main outcomes of the surveys were:

  • Season ticket holders that used the service expressed a very positive opinion on the new service offered and consider it convenient and time saving
  • Most season ticket holders that hadn’t used the recharging service were not aware of this possibility. This feedback is very important to improve the information actions.

At present Bologna is trying to extend the service to further banks.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

The results achieved so far are the following:

  • the survey conducted in June demonstrated that season tickets holder appreciate the new service and consider it convenient and time saving, since they can recharge the ticket when they want in several locations in their city.
  • from August 2011 to September 2012, 5,636 season tickets were renewed through ATMs,
  • the new system had a positive impact also on the operational costs of the ticket offices: a personnel saving  of 4,360 hours/per year has been achieved, which is equivalent to about 100,000.00 euro (11.75% of the total personnel costs at the ticket offices).

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