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Frictionless ticketing technology for persons with disabilities

wheelchair user exits public transport with accessible ramp

Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) is evaluating emerging frictionless ticketing technology to make travelling on public transport easier for persons with disabilities, and to enhance the public transport customer experience.

This could include using biometric tools including facial and voice recognition, and 5G smart phone-based technologies.

TfNSW partnered with the iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre and La Trobe University’s Centre for Technology Infusion on the recent project, with its findings released in a report.

16,000 concession cards were issued to persons with disabilities in 2021, mainly for severely vision impaired people, while 60,000 people applied for a concession card. The study concluded a significant number of people are having difficulties with public transport ticketing.

It found “for PWD that do not meet the concession criteria, tapping on and off can still pose a significant challenge”.

“For instance, for people with a mental or physical disability, using public transport can be a stressful experience and concerns about having the right ticket ready and finding access to the platform adds to this stress,” the report said.

The report revealed from the beginning of 2021 to September of the same year, 152 problems were reported about concession cards.

“The nature of these problems was quite serious – in many cases the issue prevented persons with disabilities from traveling on public transport. Lost cards are a frequent reason for making an inquiry as are late replacements, expired cards, and making updates to cards,” it said.

The study explored emerging technologies over a time span of two to five years and found that several technologies have the potential to deliver a frictionless ticketing experience.

A frictionless ticketing experience is where the end-user can simply walk through the gates that automatically open or walk onto platforms and be issued with a ticket automatically, without the need to tap on and off.

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