DESIGN AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC APPRAISAL OF A NEW E-TICKETING SYSTEM IN THESSALONIKI



DESIGN AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC APPRAISAL OF A NEW E-TICKETING SYSTEM IN THESSALONIKI

Authors

Polykarpos Karkavitsas, Thessaloniki Public Transport Authority, Manos Vougioukas, Dieuropaiki Simvouleutiki Monoprosopi Ltd, Alexandros Deloukas, ATTIKO METRO S.A.

Description

Within the framework of the project ATTAC - SEE, the Thessaloniki Public Transport Authority investigated the introduction of Integrated Ticketing and Smartcard Fare Collection Systems in the local Public Transport system.

Abstract

Within the framework of the project-“Attractive Urban Public Transport for Accessible Cities”/ATTAC, the Thessaloniki Public Transport Authority (ThePTA) investigated the introduction of Integrated Ticketing and Smartcard Fare Collection Systems in the local Public Transport (PT) system.
In Thessaloniki, the PT system currently contains 87 bus lines on a flat fare with pre-purchase paper media. The city is expected to be served by mass transit modes in the next 5 years, namely a Metro line currently under construction, a new Tramway/Light Rail Transit (LRT) as well as Sea-borne passenger ferry services within Thermaikos Gulf, all providing multi-modal bus and P+R connectivity. The current fare structure needs to undergo major enhancements to offer integration between all future PT modes towards ‘seamless’ travel. This will include zonal fares, loyalty incentives, peak spreading tariffs, all based on an Electronic Fare Collection (EFC) system using smartcards.
A Pilot Study has been implemented within ATTAC, which concerns the “Investigation of integrated ticketing and smart card fare collection system, with a special view to passenger behavior and financial implications” within the region of Thessaloniki.
The paper will present the following results of the Thessaloniki pilot stages:

A. Consultation on principles and options with involved stakeholders on issues of technology, operations and funding.
The main purpose of the consultation process was to reveal the opinions of relevant stakeholders on this matter in order to develop the most appropriate strategy for the implementation of the EFC system. Almost 69% of respondents expressed a favorable opinion regarding this supply improvement as well as additional uses of the smartcard, while 4% believed that under existing circumstances in Thessaloniki, such a system would not help. All stakeholders mentioned that such a system should be operated and managed by a coordinating institution with statutory powers, in order to ensure the timely and within budget project implementation.

B. Strategy formulation based on the most favorable scenario chosen for the EFC system
The Smart and Integrated Ticketing System (SITS) will include components of issuing, recharging, validating and controlling smart cards. However , the buses of OASTh (=current PT operator in Thessaloniki) will be equipped for using both old and new types of fare media, the paper ticket and the smart card (during the transitional first period of operation as well as for city visitors).
The system development does not start from scratch. OASTh has already developed a telematics system with smart stops and buses. An important issue is the integration of the EFC with the existing systems that are available at OASTh as well as with the anticipated Metro system under construction.

C. Stated travel behavior survey of potential users for improved PT ticketing services
A survey with 1000 questionnaires during the period of July to September 2013 took place in Thessaloniki. In case of SITS availability, 31% of the users will use the smart card in every trip, while the 33% will use it in most of the trips. Almost 83% of the users will use more intense the PT system. The two favorable ways of card charging are cash and internet-based, while most users stated that the smart card should have the following characteristics:
 One card for all PT operators and means
 Financial incentives to use the smart card instead of the paper ticket
 Expandability to other uses (parking, taxi, bike sharing, etc.)

D. Comparative analysis of the system costs and benefits
The benefits and to a lesser extent the costs of SITS are not easily quantifiable, let alone monetizable. Some of them incorporate uncertainties and are treated in a qualitative manner. The business case of SITS gives insight into the financial viability of the system seen from the perspective of the operator (investor). The business case contains operator costs and financial benefits (OPEX savings, fraud savings, and new net revenues). The results of the business case give the profit or (in case of losses) the amount the government would have to contribute to make the project viable for the operator (investor). The reasoning for the government contribution is the public good property of the PT.
Increased convenience, time savings of ticket holders, operational and maintenance cost savings, reduced fare evasion, new net ticket revenues, qualitative indirect benefits of flexible tariff structures, qualitative planning benefits of operators and SITS managing entities, car traffic reduction, etc are some of the key factors that make the said system socially favorable when compared with the life-cycle costs of the system.
The paper will present a full-scale socio-economic appraisal of the SITS.

Publisher

Association for European Transport