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Mobile transportation ticket sales hit $100M on Masabi platform

October 23, 2013

MBTA's iPhone app

Mobile ticketing company Masabi reports that sales from transportation-based tickets using the company’s technology have exceeded $100 million, pointing to the strong use case of mobile ticketing for small, everyday functions.

Masabi counts 17 transportation and retail companies in the United States and Britain as clients that bake the company’s ticketing technology into consumer-facing mobile applications. Although mobile payments have been slow to take off with consumers, transportation is one of the key verticals where the technology is sticking.

“We are focused on the transit space and letting consumers buy and use tickets straight from their phones,” said Josh Robin, vice president of strategy and development for North America at Masabi, London.

“The mobile device becomes a vending machine and a ticket,” he said. “Mobile payments are about everyday use cases, and we often see consumers using our services twice a day for commuting.”

Mobile tickets
Transportation stations in Boston and San Diego are two of the areas rolling out mobile payments for consumers.

Last year, Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority began offering mobile tickets to let consumers buy tickets from a branded app. Consumers can then show their mobile devices to a train conductor with a time-stamped ticket.

In addition to ticketing, the app also serves as a tool for consumers to check schedules, maps and service alerts, which gives the app some utility so that consumers continually rely on the mobile app on a regular basis.

Masabi also began a pilot program in August with San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System and also has mobile ticketing in place with Virgin Trains, First Great Western and Cross Country in Britain.

A screenshot of the MBTA app

Ticketing grows
In another example of how transportation companies are picking up on mobile payments, New Jersey’s NJ Transit has expanded its MyTix mobile ticketing program to include the Morris and Essex lines, and the Montclair-Boonton lines.

Consumers can download the MyTix app for iPhone and Android devices to buy one-way, weekly and monthly train tickets.

MyTix was originally rolled out as a pilot in April and has since been expanding across all of the train company’s lines.

For many of these transportation companies, the goal behind mobile payments is to empower the consumer with more tools so that it is easier for them to get in and out of train stations as quickly as possible.

Additionally, mobile ticketing helps educate consumers on how to use their mobile devices to pay for items, which is still a major road block for marketers in getting the technology to take off.

Once a consumer becomes comfortable making small purchases via their mobile devices, they may be more inclined to buy a bigger-ticket item, too.

“As mobile adoption continues to grow and the power of this technology grows, we will see mobile ticketing grow,” Mr. Robin said.

“There is no need for a vending machine or fumbling around in your pocket for cash,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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