The European Travellers Club

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Account Based Ticketing

For the coming years, we see a development from card-based systems to account-based systems, simply because this allows public transport schemes to give better services to trusted travellers.

Card-based systems in public transport often use smart cards, or NFC enabled mobile phones, to store travel value, travel products (for example a monthly pass), discount rights (for example for students or the elderly), and tickets. Tickets can be pre-paid or Pay-As-You-Go (check-in check-out, or check-in only). Tickets are stored so they can be inspected.


Account-Based Ticketing (ABT) offers the opportunity for schemes and transport operators to move the fare calculation software and logic away from the card reader to the back office (or ‘cloud’) where the account of the traveller also resides. The back office can then aggregate the transactions, apply algorithms to calculate the appropriate fare and deduct this from a recognised and trusted account. This could be a bank account, a credit card account, or a pre-loaded account or ticket. As the account is online accessible, any online changes to this account are immediately in effect, removing the need for a physical sales and distribution infrastructure.


ABT has been made possible following the huge increase in the volume and speed of data communications over the air; computational improvements in card technology; and the rise of the account as the online representation of a customer.



From Ticketing to Travelling

ABT will develop into Account-Based Travelling when it is integrated with other mobility services (such as rural transport services, taxi, bike rental and P+R parking), as well as with on-line journey planning/ticketing and real-time journey monitoring. It can also include CRM activities with the customer account and mobile interface being the source and springboard for other advisory and informational based services.