Over the last few years, there has been an increased focus on the deployment of automated fare collection (AFC) systems in Africa. Majority of the transit agencies /authorities /city governments in the region use paper and magnetic-stripe tickets for fare collection, and some have deployed contactless smartcards and bank cards. There is now increasing discussion on the benefits of using contactless smartcards, bank cards and mobile ticketing for transit payments.
The deployment of smart ticketing systems is driven by an awareness of the benefits of such systems – improved services, reduced cash handling costs and fare evasion, higher fare revenue collection, greater operational efficiency, increased ridership, and lower costs. There is also greater emphasis on integration and interoperability.
Going forward, Africa is expected to be one of the largest upcoming markets for the deployment of AFC systems. An analysis of nearly 40 key cities in Africa reveals that 16 cities have plans to introduce contactless smartcards. Moreover, nine cities have plans to deploy bank cards, of which seven are in South Africa. Besides South African cities, Lagos and Rabat have unveiled plans to deploy bank cards.
However, the region faces unique challenges such as the presence of multiple bus operators using an uneven fare structure, the absence of an integrated fare system, large transport modal share of privately operated taxis and buses, low level of financial inclusion, etc.
These challenges present several opportunities for transit ticketing providers. Cities are increasingly looking for solutions from the private sector to integrate fare systems for various modes and to provide innovative technologies for trip planning and ticketing. Moreover, Africa has the world’s second largest telecom market in terms of unique subscribers and nearly 50 per cent of the unique subscribers are connected to a mobile internet connection giving a huge opportunity for mobile ticketing.
The deployment of AFC and contactless payment technology brings up several topics for discussion. For a transit agency, the key discussion areas relate to managing the transition to an advanced fare collection system, stakeholder management, project delivery, financing models, choice of technology, etc. Other key areas of discussion include potential business models for the financial industry, integration of mobile payments and wallets with the existing infrastructure, digitalisation in public transport, etc.
To better understand the trends, developments, opportunities, innovations and challenges associated with the deployment of contactless transit ticketing technology in Africa, Global Mass Transit is organising its virtual conference on ‘Transit Ticketing & Fare Collection Africa 2020’ on August 26, 2020 from 09:30 AM – 04:30 PM (South Africa Time and CET).
The mission of this conference is to analyse key trends, discuss recent developments, highlight opportunities, discuss best practices, and showcase innovations and new technologies in the public transport ticketing and fare collection systems industry in the Africa region.