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Travel Smart Card

Aalborg

Aalborg tested and introduced an electronic ticketing system on public transport buses as a stepping stone for a wider application of smart travel cards. The new system aims to make public transport more attractive, which can counter the trend of shrinking passenger numbers.

Implementing sustainable mobility

As part of a national plan developed in last years, the Public Transport Authority of North Denmark (Nordjyllands Trafikselskab NT) in collaboration with the City of Aalborg implemented the Travel Smart Card  TCS in Aalborg including design and implementation of two new untested facilities:

  • A fully integrated contactless Smart Card IT-system linked with the Bus PC infrastructure.
  • A Travel Card Light solution to expand the use of electronic ticketing to public transport taxis.

New ticketing units have been installed in April 2011 and a test project with 45 buses has successfully been in operation since May 2011. An information campaign and introductory offers got 500 test users within the first month, with three alternatives: a personal, a family and an anonymous travel cards with different flexibility and discounts conditions. In September 2011, the measure has been extended to the 130 buses of Aalborg network (80 financed by ARCHIMEDES), integrating a necessary education campaign to drivers. In October 2011, a new marketing campaign has been implemented specially for young people and students.

How did the measure progress?

New ticketing units have been installed in April 2011 and a test project with 45 buses has successfully been in operation since May 2011. An information campaign and introductory offers got 500 test users within the first month, with three alternatives: a personal, a family and an anonymous travel cards with different flexibility and discounts conditions. In September 2011, the measure has been extended to the 130 buses of Aalborg network (80 financed by ARCHIMEDES), integrating a necessary education campaign to drivers. In October 2011, a new marketing campaign has been implemented specially for young people and students.

The evaluation of the pilot will take place in spring 2012 and focus on the functionality of the system, its acceptance, and effects on the modal split. The regional public transport operator will adopt the system in October 2012. Besides implementing the Travel Card the ARCHIMEDES project is also focusing on integrating the IT-systems in the buses and working for the development of a Travel Card Light solution that should be used in public transport, taxis or school buses that will not be equipped with the normal travel card. The nationwide launch of the travel smart card is expected in 2013.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

Evaluation background:

  1. In testing time, a qualitative work with drivers and customers revealing the acceptance degree has been organised through 2 focus groups in November 2011 and April 2012. Online questionnaires about acceptance and incidences have been answered by 396 users in December 2011.
  2. Data collection about use and incidences has been implemented in three periods: May16 -June 19 2011 (test time), August, 22-October, 30 2011 (Aalborg rollout) and November 2011 – October 2012.
  3. Continuous data monitoring the service has been collected since the implementation. An after ARCHIMEDES quantitative evaluation campaign is linked to the regional rollout of the measure.

Key results:

Results are very satisfactory: In the first testing week in 45 buses in May 2011, 49 active journeys were registered with a total of 120 trips with the smart card. Five weeks later, there were 255 active journeys and 650 smart card trips. The first 500 test customers received a special offer to purchase the travel smart card, which was a big success.

The Travel Card system as a sales device for regular tickets obtained during the first 3 months a monthly sale of more than 500.000 DKK, approx. 1.000 daily tickets. In September 2011, the active Travel Card test users reached almost 375 passengers. In the end of October 2011 with 90 buses in the system, there were 638 active journeys and 820 smart card trips. From October 2011 to March 2012, the number of active Travel Card users increased from 500 to 3200 and the number of journeys within a week, increased from 2.000 to 16.000. In the same period there was a weekly sale of approx 35.000 cash tickets. In October 2012, there were yet 4400 active journeys, with 20.000 trips, compared to 36.000 cash tickets sold in the same period.

In an online survey in 2011 76,6% of the users  stated that they were satisfied with the Travel Card; and 31.8% found that it would influence in a more often use of buses and public transport. The negative factor in this testing time was that 28,8 % of the passengers had experienced technical problems more than once. This figure has been decreasing ever since. 86,3% of the passengers were satisfied with the fare system: “the more you travel, the cheaper each trip gets”.

The system should encourage passengers to increase their use of public transport.

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