Digital tickets

Riding public transport without paper tickets

Test der Verkehrs-Apps von SWB und VRS.

More and more passengers ride buses and trams with electronic tickets.

BONN. For the past five years, transportation companies here have been offering online tickets.  This option is becoming more and more popular with riders, with an increase in demand.

Just one click as opposed to standing in front of the ticket machine, searching for the right change - an App should make it easier to pay for your tram or bus ticket. Since the end of 2013, passengers have been able to purchase bus and tram tickets from SWB public transport on their mobile phone, even if at the beginning there was only a limited selection available.  In 2015, the offer increased to all tickets. VRS Rhein-Sieg public transport also offers tickets on the internet, with a three percent savings to entice passengers to buy them online.  As an example, for one route, it means an online ticket costs 2.71 euros whereas a paper ticket would cost 2.90 euros. 

“Passengers can spontaneously buy tickets, even if they don’t know the tariff or don’t have any cash,” says Veronika John of SWB.  When you enter the starting and ending points, the corresponding rate is already shown.  The SWB App is called “easy.GO” and payment is made either by mobile phone, Paypal or Paydirekt.  Those who use the App “VRS Auskunft” can pay by direct debit, credit card, prepaid or billing of the mobile phone contract. 

Both providers are seeing increasing sales. While the VRS sold 2.24 million digital tickets two years ago, in 2017 it had already increased to 3.14 million. In 2017,  SWB recorded 133,000 digital tickets, and in the first four months of this year, there were already more than 57,000 digital tickets sold. The most frequently sold ticket in Bonn is price level 1 b, followed by price level 2 b tickets.

One-person day passes are most popular with VRS, followed by weekly and single tickets.  VRS spokesman Holger Klein says “Acceptance has developed very positively.”  So far, criticism is only aimed at the registration process, which seems too long for some customers.

In the future, VRS plans on introducing an electronic tariff.  It would bill according to the distance covered - regardless of tariff zones.  GPS data would come from the smartphone; currently this project is still in the test phase.  SWB, on the other hand, has a pilot project for ID-based ticket purchases, aiming to make ticket purchases easier for users by means of cloud technology. 

(Orig. text: Sabrina Nauer, Translation: ck)