Why Account-Based Ticketing (ABT) Is A Misnomer and Niche Product in Public Transport

1 minute read


Following my previous post, I’d like to ponder further on the notion that public transport, being “public” (i.e., accessible to all without preferential service), fundamentally conflicts with the concept of ‘accounts.’ This brings us to question if Account-Based Ticketing (ABT) is really just a made-up term and niche product.

In essence, ABT appears to be an extension of open-loop payments. It seems to be a reactionary measure by those who, having prematurely celebrated the implementation of open-loop payments, are now faced with unforeseen card network costs. Thus, they attempt to introduce fare-capping or minimize scheme fees to offset these unexpected expenses.

Ironically, these are the same fees they enthusiastically incurred when they rushed to implement a system that now seems to be turning against them.

In short, there are no ‘accounts’ in public transport, reinforcing the argument that ABT might not be as solid a concept as some would like us to believe.

Moreover, it’s impractical and unjust to demand every passenger to register an account. There will always be those who prefer to purchase their tickets the old-fashioned way. Additionally, since ABT embodies a postpayment fare collection model, it offers far fewer financial advantages for public transit agencies and operators.

Stay tuned for more reflections on this topic.

Account Based ticketeing is a Misnomer