After two years of development and implementation by the Freiburg-based IT company highQ and other industrial partners, the digital mobility platform of Stadtwerke Osnabrück is scheduled to go fully live this year. The highlight will be a check-in/be-out (CiBo) ticketing service with retrospective best price billing – an all-time first in Germany.
It couldn’t be simpler. To check in on the bus, all it takes is a swipe on the smartphone and the passenger can even check out without having to do anything else. The system automatically registers when the passenger leaves the vehicle and reconstructs the travelled route or chain. Pricing is determined fully automatically in the background following the best-price principle. If someone travels several times on the same day or in the same week, the individual tickets are bundled into daily or weekly tickets so that the passenger always pays the lowest price. Stadtwerke Osnabrück (SWO) is one of ten partners of the communal transport network Verkehrsgemeinschaft Osnabrück (VOS). Its innovative CiBo ticketing system complies with VDV-KA/extension stage 3 and makes SWO a pioneer among German public transport companies.
CiBo ticketing is currently undergoing intensive testing. This year’s planned transition to regular transport services marks the culmination of SWO’s multi-stage digitisation strategy, which was launched in 2016. The aim is to progressively rollout an end-to-end digitised multi-modal mobility service. The development and implementation of the various modules is being led by the system houses highQ from Freiburg and eos.uptrade from Hamburg, with other industry partners involved as suppliers.
Following the redesign of the tariff structure to achieve greater customer orientation, the existing VOSPilot mobility app was correspondingly adapted and, in addition to local public transport, the regional car sharing service was also integrated. Further mobility offers such as the use of public car parks and bicycle parking facilities will also be added. Thanks to the system’s modular architecture, it can be easily expanded to include additional services in the future.
Since January 2019, the highQ-developed ControlApp for inspectors has also been in use. This enables electronic checking of travel authorisations and, if necessary, the issuing of increased transport charges (EBE). The app can be installed on Android-based ticket inspection devices or simply on standard smartphones. If a mobile printer unit is added to the system, the inspector can issue an EBE receipt directly on the spot. The ControlApp feeds the EBE data directly into the back-office system, where it is available in real time for billing, accounting or other purposes.
Central sales platform and multi-provider billing
Another milestone is the development of a web-based customer portal. Via this portal, every passenger can access the various mobility offers in Osnabrück, regardless of whether they are season ticket holders or occasional customers. Once they have registered, the offers they have selected are available to them in their VOSPilot. This also enables direct booking of intermodal, multi-provider journey chains. While the app itself was developed by eos.uptrade/Hacon, highQ was responsible for linking the various back-office systems and making the necessary interface adaptations. The backbone of the new online sales platform is the highQ fare management system TicketOffice.
All system modules meet the requirements for interoperable service according to the German VDV-KA guidelines and are therefore future-proof. “Together with Stadtwerke Osnabrück, we are doing pioneering work here”, explained Kai Horn, Head of Marketing and Sales at highQ. “We are particularly pleased that we were able to apply all the key highQ mobility modules in the new mobility platform. We would like to expressly thank the entire SWO team and the ICG consulting team for their outstanding cooperation and patience in implementing the numerous project milestones”, Horn continued.
The sales data of all integrated mobility providers are consolidated in the highQ fare.logiQ accounting system, thus enabling central, multi-provider billing. Once a month, the customer receives a clear summary invoice for the trips he or she has completed. “Thanks to the uniform, digital access to our various mobility services, the obstacles to taking advantage of local public transport and other environmentally friendly means of travel have been significantly diminished”, commented Maik Blome, Head of Marketing for Mobility Services at Stadtwerke Osnabrück. “Our new digital mobility platform provides our customers with one-stop access to all mobility offers in the Osnabrück area.” Blome anticipates that the convenient CiBo ticketing service in particular will win new customers for public transport in Osnabrück.