Panel: Making MOD Happen through Payment Integration

This panel was a free-flowing discussion among public and private-sector experts in the trip-planning and payment integration fields. The discussion was moderated by Renee Ray of Conduent, and panelists were Pepper Harward from RouteMatch, Tina Morch-Pierre from DART, Adam McGavock from Moovel, Jonathan Donovan from Masabi, and Andy Taylor from Cubic.

Each of the speakers emphasized the importance of fare integration in making service delivery more collaborative, more personalized, and more rider-centric. Taking friction away from transit trips involves more than just integrating payments, trip planning must also be a part of the effort. Great apps have the ability to change people’s behavior (read: Uber and Lyft), but without the elements that make a trip easier, behavior change will not happen. The ideal scenario is that a customer can mix and match modes, and “look, book, and pay” with a few clicks. A recurring theme is that the payment methods must allow for third parties (such as health/human service agencies or universities) to push payment for tickets directly to the intended recipient (patient, person with disability, student, or other beneficiaries).

Some items noted as significant include these:

  • DART has had an account-based system with a wallet on the transit card, since 2013.
  • RouteMatch emphasized the need to make payment seamless and easy as a way to move to MaaS. Paratransit has not made fare integration easy. Better service and opportunities for spontaneous trips are sorely needed.
  • Cubic focused on its work with telecom providers and identified two tasks for transit agencies to prioritize: social equity and managing risk.
  • DART responded that undertaking risk is necessary to move forward with new options and that agencies need to recognize that projects with partners will sometimes fail. Conducting a needs assessment in advance, including fixed route and paratransit, helps identify the problem to be solved and the means to address it.
  • Masabi emphasized the need to be able to scale up and scale down. Write contracts so that if the transit agency succeeds, then the vendor succeeds. Transit agencies are not going away, regardless of how many automated vehicles are on the road – it is a matter of geometry.
  • Data agreements are a recurring stumbling block. TNCs like Uber and Lyft might want to sell transit tickets; transit agencies want rides for all, but they are stuck on an agreement for sharing data. An essential element of trust is lacking. TNCs don’t trust a city not to regulate them to death. What is needed is a “UN Peacekeeping Force” for data.
  • Predictive analytics can help develop fare policy that encourages ridership. A day pass gives information on what customers actually do, what they ride if they can ride anything, anywhere.
  • A trusted clearinghouse is needed for multiple uses of a card, to allocate payments among agencies and perhaps also among others who are paying for rides.
  • Novel payers were discussed a bit. Restaurants might pay for travel to the restaurant, in order to get customers. Other people who benefit from you not driving could pay. Incentivizing environmentally responsible means of transportation is a possible tool.  Pricing mechanisms such as giving drivers a discount to park at a more remote location were also noted.
  • Join alliances such as ITS, etc., to share best practices and learn from your peers.

A closing note is that rural transit agencies have different challenges, but there are still opportunities for integration. TNCs may be a useful partner.