Ticketing Platform connects transport infra to apps and mobile payment systems
Plusdial’s Ticketing Platform integrates
- various players (MaaS and other application providers), and
- mobile telecommunications operators’ messaging and billing systems (Premium SMS / Charge to Bill)
in one centralized system, which issues the tickets under Public Transport Authority’s or Company’s (PTA’s or PTC’s) control, and further,
- integrates to Public Transport Authority’s or Company’s back-office reporting, validation and help desk systems, and/or
- provides User Interfaces and tools for PTA/PTC for handling end-customer services, reporting and validation functions when direct integration is not applicable.
It is our aim to be a neutral and independent party between public transport organizations and other parties – i.e. not to become a MaaS provider, payment service or mobile application vendor ourselves. Instead:
- The quick and versatile application providers may use their creativity to entice customers to public transport – with no app development costs for PTA! ..
- ..while PTA gets centralized and trustworthy sales data for clearing and reports of ticket usage (in accordance with the requirements of the ISAE 3402 assurance standard)
PTA thus has one central point to connect ticket inspection and validation functions too, and they are provided with one End User help desk and service management tool for handling customer feedback and controlling ticket selection instead of having to adapt or integrate separately to 3rd parties’ systems. They can even utilize also SMS ticketing, fully provided by the platform.
As an example of a typical set-up, public transport authority may use the platform to interconnect several parties’ services to create a complete digital ticketing system:
- The PTA may either develop a ticketing application of its own or offer platform’s Open API to 3rd parties (Application Providers, on the right-hand side in the picture) with existing applications, willing to add transport tickets to their current service offering.
- Application Providers may either
- Offer their customers payment methods like monthly subscriptions or dedicated mobile wallets, or
- Handle payments via general payment services (typically, credit/debit cards, or any other mobile payment service with a payment API to service providers), or
- Transmit just ticket orders and deliveries, and have Plusdial to mediate end customer charging to Telecom operators’ billing systems (either via so called “Direct Operator Billing” or “Charge to Bill”, requiring use of operator’s data network, or via Premium SMS billing)
- Plusdial connects to required PTA back-office systems (on the left in the picture) for
- Sales reporting
- Reporting all events in detail for analysis or other purposes
- Fetching ticket specific data – like validation data – to be included in produced tickets, if applicable.
- Plusdial Platform can also generate QR codes itself according to PTA specifications, and add links for fetching them to customer’s phone in SMS tickets; thus QR codes can be used without separate applications, just via phone’s own browser.
- Alternatively, SMS tickets can be equipped with machine readable, textual codes, for which reader software for handheld devices – at its simplest, smart phones – can also be provided
- Or PTA’s inspectors may rely on human readable, visual control code embedded in SMS tickets
- Inserting ticket data to existing ticket validation or inspection back-office systems, like metro gates, or existing validation back-office systems
- Note that even Account Based Ticketing systems, possibly also supporting EMV payments, can be complemented with a SMS based solution where also non-credit card holders may pay their tickets with more cash-like mobile operator billing!
- Plusdial provides also its own tools for inspection
- Platform also provides uniform user interface (regardless of number of Application providers) to help desk and service management
Initially, Plusdial’s platform has been developed for public transport companies and authorities. However, in many markets the same organizations manage also city parking and functions like congestion charging; thus, the platform also includes customer driven add-on functionality for implementing parking and congestion payments.
Plusdial platform tested to conform with ISAE 3402
As ticket sales and the corresponding financial transaction processes are increasingly often outsourced, it is vital to assure that transactions and reporting by the service providers are correct and properly controlled against misuse. Such guarantees, provided by an independent third party, are also often required by PTAs’ auditors.
The International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE 3402) is the international testing standard that assesses the effectiveness of internal control systems of service providing organizations on yearly basis. ISAE 3402 aims to extensively test an organizations internal control system and to rate its effectiveness in detail. The ISAE 3402 Type 2 test report contains the opinion of an external test company on the control procedure at the service provider, a description of the control points, the test methods and controls, information about the test period and a statement about the effectiveness of the controls.
Plusdial’s Ticketing Platform and specifically, one of the services implemented utilizing it, has been successfully tested and found to conform with the standard. Re-evaluations will be done regularly to guarantee compliance also in the future.
Please see the auditor’s announcement of this via this link (a signed PDF document by the auditor from PricewaterhouseCoopers).
Mobile Ticketing as a Service?
It is hard these days to avoid coming across to variety of acronyms like SaaS, PaaS, IaaS… (Software/Platform/Infrastructure as a Service). Well, Plusdial offers none of those as such – while we do routinely take the best of each technology to produce services to our PTA Customers. From Customer’s point of view, we could rather talk about Ticketing as a Service!
In essence, this means roughly the same as being able to purchase a computer from a web shop, and have it express delivered, with the software remotely installed and managed. The “traditional” way would have been having to first locate and then visit a specialist dealership, where, in fact, you would first put a lot of effort in finding out what options actually exist and which components you need – before you can even make your order. If your choice was not on the shelf already, you’d be making another trip to fetch the finally arrived product – after which your only option to update it would be making more visits on-site.
At Plusdial we utilize these new technologies – from fact finding phase to maintaining the service, and from planning and delivery to service management processes. Instead of having local offices or hosting centers around the world, we stay in contact with our current and future Customers rather via video conferencing and e-mails than spending – eventually our Customer’s – time and money on traveling. Dozens of cities’ mobile ticketing services have been produced like this for years – long before the world was forced to adopt similar ways of working due to the Covid pandemic – and it definitively works!
Physical distance is not of importance from technical point of view, either: We develop and deliver the ticketing services from the best suitable Amazon cloud hosting center(s), making full use of the highly developed, yet scalable, high availability, affordable and auditable Amazon Web and other Services. As a result, our Customers save working time and costs.