One ticketing system vs. multiple approaches

I just read a quite interesting interview of Ulrich Gygi, still President of the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) where he explains the development in the ticketing system in Switzerland. He is dissatisfied with the progress as well as the fact that smaller rail operators, such as the Südostbahn (SOB) and the Bern Lötschberg Simplon Bahn (BLS) are pursuing alternative solutions to the Swiss Pass approach of SBB.

Overall, all three companies have the same objectives: To simplify the payment solution for the customers as well as reduce costs for the payment system.

While SBB is running on behalf of all public transport providers in Switzerland the SwissPass system, the other two companies are experimenting with mobile phone based solutions. If these solutions should prove to be accurate enough (which they should be) and cost effective (which they might be as well), these alternative solutions might prove to be more efficient than a Be-in/Be-out system as favored by SBB and would allow implementation in 2017 and not 2025, saving considerable amounts of tax payers’ money.

In my opinion, to have multiple systems is anyway favorable from a systemic point of view until one shows clear advantages over the other. So I would encourage all operators to find suitable solutions for their problems without waiting until the biggest one has found and implemented the optimal solution.

 

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