31 March 2017

Fare integration and the unique ticketing system in Mediterranean cities

fare integration and the single ticketing system as a fundamental pillar for the development of an integrated public transport system

To improve their transportation systems, large Mediterranean cities want to regulate, develop, integrate and modernize their networks. The first step is to integrate transport infrastructures planning and operation, and then to implement fare and technological integration. The latter is an essential issue to tackle for the authorities because it facilitates the use of the public transport system, makes it more socially accessible and increases its attractiveness.

Currently, most public transport networks of Mediterranean cities do not offer yet fare integration, nor single ticketing system; this leads to several problems. On one side, a trip that includes several modes or transport lines has high cost which corresponds to the sum of several tickets (one for each trip segment). On another side, each mode implements its own technology and the user accumulates several cards to use the transport in one town.

Fare integration consists in the creation of a single transport title that integrates all public transport services and allows travelling on all lines of any mode and operator. This process is fundamental for the development of an integrated system as it facilitates multimodality or the use of several modes during the same trip [1]. Furthermore, this process is strongly linked to the ticketing system (the technological system that allows the purchase of tickets and subscriptions); this one must be unique to realize the fare integration in the daily use of urban transport. In Algiers, for example, SETRAM already proposes a model of fare integration and interoperability thanks to the monthly subscription that allows to travel limitless through the four modes (tramway, metro, bus and transport by cable).

In most big cities, the difficulty in achieving fare integration is the coordination between the numerous entities managing public transport. The creation of transport organizing authorities is often the sine qua non condition for the implementation of the fare and technological integration of the transport networks. In the case of Greater Tunis, the public transport system is characterized by the multiplicity of actors who operate the network and their need for coordination. Today, two public operators (TRANSTU and SNCFT), four private operators and taxis (individual and collective) transport over 1.4 million passengers per day. While the rapid rail system is in construction, the numerous institutions are implementing a new technology for ticketing and fare revenue management in the whole network. Therefore, the AROTT in Tunis and the Greater Cairo Transport Regulatory Authority (GCTRA) are in the process of being set up to develop a single ticketing system and to organize transport fares. These authorities allow the coordination between the different actors to achieve fare and technological integration, as well as the operational and planning integration.

On further reflection, read the article by Lucile Boudet (in French), which, based on Peruvian cases similar to Mediterranean urban and institutional situations, set out the various objectives of fare and technological integration and the necessary steps to get over problems related to the multitude of institutional and private actors who manage public transport.


[1] Who pays what for urban transport? Guide to good practice, CODATU, AFD, MEDDE, Edition 2014, page 46