Transit, a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) app developed in Montreal, has seen an uptake of 7 percent within two months since offering an integrated ticketing option for the City of St Catharines in Canada.
Users don’t need to download a new app but can now purchase public transit tickets and pay for ride hailing services through the same app.
“Planning and paying for trips across modes, with public transit as the foundation, is the holy grail for cities,” said Jake Sion, Chief Operating Officer, Transit. “It’s only natural for riders to purchase tickets with the same app they use to plan trips and track their ride.”
During a session at UITP’s Global Public Transport Summit entitled MaaS: Creating value for all business partners, Sion explained that no entity loses ownership of the data. Once a ticket is purchased, data gets sent to a master control at Transit and then passed onto the transit authority or private operator.
“What that means is that they control the information, they have the payment information on file,” he explained. “All the personal information, like your email address, they keep, and if tomorrow they don’t like us anymore they can cut us off and they will still have all that information, they don’t lose it.”
Sion added that one reason for his company climbing up the ranks to become the third most-used mobility app in the US was due to transit authorities providing open data.
“Open API for transport operators is the foundation upon which MaaS needs to be built,” he said. “Today we are in 200 cities in 12 countries, including here in Stockholm, which we just launched.”
He said that by offering endorsements to app builders, transport authorities can then share in that data and set certain preconditions.
“Rather than build their own app they’ve said, ‘We will open our data, anyone can compete but we will stamp an official endorsement on your app’,” he said. “As part of those deals and those relationships we provide tools to those transit authorities in providing data on how people are using their system.”
In Montreal, Sion was only able to work with the city if the public transport option for a journey always appeared first.
“So that is something we committed to, as if we no longer adhere to that they can pull their endorsement,” he said. “There is no money changing hands and in such a relationship both parties win.”