Road Network Operations
& Intelligent Transport Systems
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Multi-use and Intermodal Ticketing

Integrated ticketing is aimed at enabling a traveller to complete a journey using several public transport modes with a single, simple to use, method of cashless payment at an optimally low fare. Integrated intermodal ticketing helps smooth the process of switching between transport modes during a single journey. It can also increase the efficiency of the transport service as a whole if intermodal transfer points are planned as part of the transport network.

Overall, an integrated multi-use and intermodal ticket is an essential part of an integrated transport strategy.

Multi-use ticketing requires technical interoperability of the means of payment between services – but the primary challenge to deployment is organisational. A high level of cooperation and coordination is required to specify, implement, operate and expand schemes – and to ensure that a common method of payment is fully and comprehensively integrated and supported by the different operators of the various modes. (See Case Study: Integrated Multi-use Payment and Intermodal Ticketing)

The range of services that a user may wish to access are usually geographically limited but can be applied regionally, for example:

MyCiti smart card validator, Cape Town (South Africa)]

Technologies, Data and Resources

Paper tickets or magnetic cards may be used for multimodal ticketing – but have limited security and limited validity (being generally linked to a single time period, such as a day travel card). The method of payment used by an integrated electronic scheme – to which more than one service provider belongs – requires higher levels of security, particularly if “typical” fares are higher for one mode than for others. For this reason, a strategic decision to implement integrated, multi-modal ticketing is unlikely to favour paper tickets or magnetic cards.

The primary enablers of integrated, multi-modal ticketing schemes are:

  • common minimum standards for the method of payment and their readers (where smart cards or proximity cards are used)
  • performance requirements (for example, at turnstiles)
  • contractual relationships between service providers
  • ensuring wide availability of methods of payment
  • common branding, marketing & public communications

Since the operator of each transport mode needs to be paid for the service provided a commercial agreement is needed which defines the:

  • security regime
  • data to be transmitted (when a method of payment is used) to the service provider
  • the timeliness of data transfers
  • other technical requirements for payment guarantees and agreement on funds transfer

Advice to Practitioners

Large cities with many transport providers may offer several potential routes between any two points and complex fare structures, which may vary according to time of day and other factors. Multi-modal ticketing schemes can simplify a traveller’s journey using a common electronic method of payment. The chosen method of payment may be extended over time, to include additional transport operators (such as national rail networks), other cities or nationally. New methods of payment may be added – such as NFC-enabled mobile phones to provide additional choice to travellers. This evolution increases the complexity of operations and organisational relationships – but it is important that the method of payment remains simple for users to use.

It is recommended that transport service providers planning to deploy a method of payment to improve their operations should consider how the deployment will be managed and the expected cost-overhead of operating the method of payment (See Passenger Fare Payments) They will also need to consider, whether the method of payment can successfully be extended beyond the original transport service and its geographical area.

To enable scaling, emerging trends for specialisation suggest – that other providers such as banks or credit card providers could also provide a method of payment and related back office services. An example is the introduction of Contactless Payment Cards alongside the Oyster proximity card, in London. A key point to bear in mind is that the duration of any secure transaction must be fast enough to minimise congestion occurring in transaction processing (See Future Trends).

Keep Things Simple

A traveller that uses a mobile phone for payment transactions cannot reasonably be required to enter a personal identification each time they board a bus, even if a bank would normally require this for the purchase of goods.

The speed at which innovations in EPS will be expanded beyond a single MOP will depend mainly on agreement reached between banks, retailers, mobile network operators, EPS device manufacturers and advertisers. For example, it is now possible to host a proximity card application as a ‘co-resident’ application in a credit card (such as in London) or mobile phone (such as in London and pilots in Hong Kong).


Further information

MyCiti: (

Octopus: (

Oyster: (

Myki: (

EZLink: (

Swiss Pass and related products: (

Transport for London (August 2013) Going cashless on TfL bus services (consultation) (

Transport for London (July 2013) Annual Report and Account 2012-2013, p36

Reference sources

No reference sources found.