Transport Ticketing Central & Eastern Europe

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Last month Snapper attended the Transport Ticketing Central & Eastern Europe conference in Warsaw. The event is part of the global programme that Transport Ticketing are developing as the industry moves from closed, proprietary systems to a more open approach.

I was looking forward to the event for a couple of reasons. First, it was a chance to take the Snapper way of doing things to a new audience. Second, it was the chance to correct a significant personal omission – my mother was one of more than seven hundred Polish children that New Zealand offered refuge to during World War 2. Post war, she stayed in New Zealand, married and raised Kiwi kids.  I had never visited Poland so it was nice to be able to rectify that.  But more about my personal experience of Poland is coming up shortly, in another blog.  For now, I’d like to tell you about the conference.


The state of the market

Eastern Europe is typical of transport ticketing networks everywhere – large scale, closed, proprietary systems are deployed by Transport Authorities and operators. These organisations want to achieve more but are constrained by their existing systems.

There is a drive towards open, flexible systems with a strong focus on mobile.

Some interesting innovation is occurring in the market driven by cloud-based solutions with the most interesting newcomer being Tickey from Bulgaria. Their smartphone-based ticketing system was pitched squarely around saving the paper used for tickets. Dimiter Dimitrov, the CEO explained the Tickey business model.  They don’t sell their software to operators; they sell tickets on behalf of operators and take a small revenue share – effectively meaning operators would outsource some of their ticket sales.

Ruter in Norway also had a very polished presentation about their journey of developing a smartphone based ticketing app for use on buses.

Poland has gained a strong reputation as a place where you can initiate innovative projects and services. The town of Bialystok had been able to launch a version of their transport application on a SIM provided by T-Mobile. Unfortunately take-up had been very low due to slow distribution of the SIM and the lack of support from other mobile network operators. But, there are a number of other innovative NFC projects originating in Poland which makes it an interesting market to watch.

Focus on innovation as a thing not a process

I presented the Snapper guide to innovation which spoke to the need to be flexible and responsive to your customers when developing innovative new services. We used this presentation to launch our latest offer for the global ticketing industry – a fixed price Proof of Solution. The Proof of Solution enables ticketing authorities to develop their knowledge of, and confidence in mobile reload services, with a fully integrated test app that works with their test card to perform a card enquiry and an e-purse reload. My presentation also featured an introduction in Polish (thanks Ma!) which sent most of the audience scrambling for their translation headsets until I changed gear back to English. I choose to believe this is a testament to my excellent pronounciation.

Overall this was a great event – attendees were at the right level and there was the perfect mix of a good number of people from all parts of the industry and sufficient networking time to get to meet them all. We had a great response to our vision for ticketing and plenty of compliments on our mobile reload solution.

We’re now working through the contacts we made, and getting ready for our next trade show, Transport Ticketing & Passenger Information Global in London in January.  We hope to see you all there.