Ticketing – a crucial tool for increased use of PT
Integrating complicated fare structures can lead to a boom in the use of public transportation. Done correctly, the attractiveness of the public system increases greatly. In Barcelona and Lisbon, the fare integration has been a success.
“In Barcelona, the fare integration has been a success. The number of tickets sold have increased from 748 million before the change in 2000, to 800 million in 2001 and 883 million in 2003,” says Xavier Rosello, assistant technical director at the Metropolitan Transport Authority in the city, ATM. He participated in a Trendsetter/Civitas workshop on efficient public transport in Lille on October 19. Examples from integrated tariff structures from Lisbon and Bremen shows similar positive results.
The metropolitan region of Barcelona has 4.5 million inhabitants in 202 municipalities. Until 2001, three rail operators and 38 bus operators offered a plethora of tickets and prices. There was a flat rate in the city center, varying kilometer fare on suburban trains and buses, and the local Renfe trains had a zone system.
Now all tickets are part of the same system, valid for all modes of transportation. Pricing is based on the frequency of use and the length of trip.One main advantage is that transfers are not penalised. One ticket for the whole trip has made intermodal travel jump from 8 percent of total trips to 30 percent. A necessary condition was to gather the state, local and regional administrations into one consortium, ATM, in 1997.
“We wanted to keep the prices lower. No trip should be more expensive than before,” Xavier Rosello says. That meant total income would drop. But thanks to the increase in travel, the loss has after a few years been almost compensated.
The 41 operators agreed on a key for the distribution of the revenue. For a bi-modal trip from the periphery to the center, the urban operator receives half of the urban ticket price and the interurban operator receives the rest, Xavier Rosello explains. Public operators are compensated monthly to cover deficits and private operators are paid according to their concession contracts.
Bremen, on the other hand, strictly follows a contracted division of the revenues among the 35 operators.
The conference also showed that the arrival of smart card tickets that register every trip will allow for an even more sophisticated and fairer division of revenues between operators. Splitting the revenue based on statistical surveys and negotiations in transport consortia is becoming a thing of the past.
Looking forward to Lille’s imminent integration of fares, Jean-Paul Guirand, engineer at Lille Metropolis, concludes: “Ticketing isn’t a magical wand that solves all problems. But it is a crucial tool we can use.”