Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Integrated transport pricing system in Bremen (Germany)

Result description
Based on the German standards for the GeldKarte (BankCard) of the German credit services sector, a chip card was launched in 6/2005, which is like a debit card for the user’s PT journeys. It was named BoB-ticket which stands for “Bequem ohne Bargeld” (convenient without cash). The electronic ticket is a post-paid-ticket that allows the customer to easily access public transport without prepaid tickets, prepaid electronic money or cash. The passenger uses public transport now and pays later.

The customer registers once at one of the three involved public transport operators in Bremen, Oldenburg, and Bremerhaven. When entering the PT vehicle, the customer electronically books in the destination and (when not travelling alone) the number of passengers for the journey. The information is stored on the registered smartcard and also transferred to a main database to create a monthly bill. The user’s bank account is billed at the end of the month. Customers making several journeys a day are charged for the cheaper day ticket rather than several single trip tickets. Integrating regional and peri-urban commuters, the BOB-ticket started in Bremen at BSAG and two other public transport operators of the region. The BOB-ticket was introduced to the public in May 2005. Within one month, more than 5000 citizens were registered as BOB-ticket-holders. At the end of 2005 exactly 12,952 customers are registered as BoB-ticket-holders.

Who are the end-users of this result?
Main target users for the integrated transport pricing system are:
- Citizens who are not frequent PT customers, to provide easy and reliable access to public transport;
- PT operator BSAG and all other regional public transport operators represented by VBN, who can avoid handling change and improve their services for the customer’s needs;
- Other transport service providers, such as Carsharing company “Stadtauto”, for integrating their services with public transport.

Main innovative features/benefits (technical/commercial success factors)
The combination of the GeldKarte and a post-paid system is unique. In contrast to sophisticated check in - check out systems based on contactless chips, the cost performance ratio of the system is very good.

Although the system requires that the card has to be inserted and some information has to be entered on a touch screen (touchMobil, located in vehicle), this system has several advantages: the card is transferable and has the option of calculating the best price per day. As the target group are the non-frequent PT users, only a small share of all PT users have to check in at the “touchMobil”. So no hold up will arise when several passengers enter the vehicle at the PT stops.

Market or application sectors & possible applications
A best price option is implemented for one-day: If a day-ticket is cheaper than the journeys registered that day, the day-ticket only is billed to the customer. The system will add to the financially attractive offers of various existing season tickets in the regional PT system. The bonus system was not implemented because of the results of a product acceptance study showed that the demand for that offer would be too small. The plan to enable ticket sale via the Internet was abandoned because of security reasons and coordination problems between the involved local and regional PT operators. This is the result of a weak-point analysis carried out by the BSAG in the early stage of preparation.

Potential barriers
- Hardware equipment: Home terminals for loading cards for further e-commerce extensions are not available or are too expensive for common use within the project period. Another solution for e-Ticketing has to be chosen.
- Systems do not function as reliably as expected. A step-by-step implementation strategy avoids heavy losses, disappointed customers and a bad reputation for telematics in public transport customer services and allows adaptations within the implementation process.
- Requirements of data protection and security may adversely affect e-commerce projects. Bremen’s data protection officer has been involved at an early stage of developing the system, so that the systems fulfil all requirements. Heavy pressure of cost saving on public transport spending makes it more difficult for the operators to risk new investments in new technology when the return cannot be easily calculated.

Having a step-by-step-strategy in mind, the public transport operators have focussed on those elements of telematics that do not involve high investment but where a reliable level of success in generating new customers or better acceptance can be expected within a reasonable period.

Reported by

BSAG Bremer Straßenbahn AG (PT operator)
Flughafendamm 12
28199 Bremen
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