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Smart contactless solutions helping tackle COVID-19 and save the environment

At the onset of COVID-19, we saw how contactless solutions transitioned from a nice-to-have to a necessity. As such, we are happy to publish a guest contribution by Ridango – the Estonian company with extensive experience in delivering smart public transport solutions. How do they see the role of contactless solutions in the post-COVID-19-world? 

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Until recently, opinions about the benefits and efficiency of contactless payment solutions have been divided. After the COVID-19 crisis, however, there should be no doubts about their importance. As the data from research conducted right after the start of the pandemic shows, all kinds of contactless solutions are here to stay. We cannot rely on physical cash anymore – it does not fit into this new narrative. It’s an “Adapt or die” kind of situation, and dying is not an option, so we must adapt.

But the problem is bigger and more complex than just the COVID-19 related healthcare crisis. On top of that, we’re also facing an irreversible climate and environmental disaster.

That’s where contactless ticketing solutions have a role to play. Helping cities build an effective public transport experience would decrease our dependence on personal cars and help preserve the environment in the process.

Besides saving the Earth, contactless ticketing solutions can also help public transportation authorities and operators offer a seamless travelling experience by providing increased boarding speed, simple and more secure ticket purchasing, which also scores higher satisfaction marks by passengers.

Going from cash to cashless

Up until recently, words such as “Cashless” and “Contactless” were seen by many as concepts out of a futuristic sci-fi movie. Then the COVID-19 crisis hit, and everything changed. All of a sudden, those two words have become synonymous in the context of how we, as humankind, should adapt to the new reality of the post-COVID-19 society.

This claim can be backed by a recent study conducted by Mastercard, which discovered that consumers are rapidly adopting contactless payments for everyday purchases as they seek cleaner and safer touch-free payment options. During February and March when states started imposing social distancing measures, a majority of consumers switched to contactless payments. It is becoming clear that contactless is here to stay as 74 per cent of people globally state that they will continue to use contactless even after the pandemic is over. 

Rethinking how to accept & process payments

Those numbers send a strong message to companies, which persist in relying on physical cash to operate their business. Why isn’t cash fit for the post-COVID-19 society? Because by design, cash requires a physical human to human interaction, which ultimately spreads more germs from person to person.

One study found that on average physical banknotes change hands at least 55 times a year.  Many people working in different industries are essential frontline workers, so we must protect them. Contactless payments provide an extra layer to help keep them secure. We, at Ridango, believe it’s our duty to make sure public transport emerges stronger from the current crisis and to help the sector adapt.

Future of public transportation

The world is facing multiple crises at once. Besides COVID-19, we must also fight biodiversity loss and climate change, and for that, we need public transport. This is our chance to build better services and connect cities and communities with the people. Clear, efficient and green public transport reduces air pollution in cities, and that’s why it should be part of climate action plans to reach global targets set by the Paris Agreement.

Public transport has the ability to give city streets back to the people, thus increasing the quality of life and availability of green space in cities. Public transport is also four times more efficient per passenger-km than private cars. Every kilometre travelled via public transport saves 95 grams of greenhouse gas emissions and 19 grams of NOx, compared to using individual motorised transport. A future without public transport is a future without clean air.

Public transport provides a connectivity hub to public services, work and leisure, allowing more people to travel smoothly within the urban spaces available. It isn’t rocket science; more people reaching more employment, studies and businesses more efficiently, which will result in more opportunities for all. So, investing in public transport will furthermore protect millions of jobs locally and worldwide. Public transport that is driven by innovation and service quality plays a crucial role in rebuilding local economies, in which many of us may thrive, putting people and the environment at the centre.

So, it’s fair to say that nature and public transport should be natural allies. One way, how you can get people to use public transport more and private cars less, is through offering a seamless public transport user experience for passengers, and that’s where innovative, smart IT solutions for public transport play a major role.

Smart contactless solutions for a seamless public transport experience 

To motivate people to use public transport more, public transportation authorities and operators must equip their vehicles with technology that eliminates the hassle for passengers and makes the experience frictionless. Some key benefits of contactless ticketing that help create a more efficient public transport experience include: :

  1. Speed. Contactless ticketing solutions help increasing the boarding speed and therefore also reduce dwell time and increase on-time performance;
  2. Simplicity. With a contactless bank card ticketing solution, your passengers don’t need to think where, how and what type of ticket to buy. Just board a vehicle, or enter the queue behind the gate, tap the contactless validator and your journey can begin. Simple as that.
  3. Security. First, no cash is required to purchase the ticket. Second, besides cash, you won’t also need to enter your PIN, which adds another layer of security and shuts off the prying eyes behind your back.
  4. Cost-saving. As you know, handling and processing physical money can be expensive for the operator. Contactless solutions help to cut this expense.
  5. Driver safety. Public transport drivers are essential frontline workers, who also need protection. By adopting the contactless solution, you can eliminate the interaction between the driver and passengers.
  6. Increased passenger satisfaction. Faster, simple and secure ticketing also scores higher satisfaction marks by passengers.

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Today, e-governance and e-services have become a necessity in every country. e-Estonia Briefing Centre – the gateway to Estonian expertise in e-governance, invites you to connect with the Estonian IT companies directly responsible for the successful functioning of the e-state even during a pandemic. Get in touch with us to set up your custom virtual programme with the best partners you could get: business.e-estonia@eas.ee

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