Half a billion people will be using mobile ticketing for public transport, including train and metro services, by 2015, according to predictions by Juniper Research .
This figure is five times higher than the number of users currently utilising the technology worldwide.
Senior analyst at Juniper Research Howard Wilcox said that in Copenhagen – where 30% of tickets are now bought using a mobile phone – the increased use of public transport can be directly attributed to mobile ticketing.
Wilcox said, “I expect to see the same level of success spread across the rest of Europe, where transport operators and telecommunication companies are developing systems to meet the demand.
“Juniper has recognised the increased need for mobile ticketing,” he continued. “The system increases efficiency because passengers arrive at the station with their tickets in hand.”
The technology also reduces risk of loss and theft, which are common occurrences when handling cash.
“You can bulk-buy a pack of ten SMS tickets, you don’t have to fumble for money to put in the machine and there’s no danger of losing your paper ticket,” Wilcox added.
But the analyst admitted that the majority of train and metro users do not have the mobile technology to cope with the most advanced ticketing systems currently available.
He mused, “I guess it’s a case of horses for courses in terms of the technology. Everyone has SMS on their device, but very few people have Near Field Communications [NFC ].”
Devices with NFC capabilities will enable passengers to take advantage of contactless technology, but until this is widely available, SMS tickets are likely to be more popular.
Report by Rebecca Edghill.