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Mobile ticketing increased 55pc following Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK – Transit companies flocked to mobile ticketing after Superstorm Sandy caused ticket machine outages all over the Northeast in 2012, inciting a rapid rise in the implementation of mobile transit ticketing, according to Bytemark, Inc.

During a press event yesterday, Bytemark CEO revealed that mobile ticketing increased 55 percent after Hurricane Sandy. He also detailed how the future of the mobile transit ticket industry is rapidly approaching as consumers relocate to urban areas, increasing the usage of public transportation, with 60 percent of individuals globally expected to relocate to urban areas.

“One of the biggest things that ended up happening was that after hurricane Sandy we found that all the infrastructure disappeared, the ticket vending machines went down,” said Micah Bergdale, CEO of Bytemark, Inc, New York. “There was no way to easily collect tickets throughout the entire system.

“The mobile app actually ended up being a really easy way for people to be able to gather tickets,” he said. “That’s when we actually started to see more and more movement around the transit system as a whole.

“So we started to get more and contracts and a lot of them are kind of starting to see that they can take ticket vending machines out of their overall ticket distribution network. It’s a huge cost saver for them because you don’t have to worry about collecting cash from these different ticket vending machines, you don’t have to worry about going and distributing ticketing stock to all the different machines; people just have their ticket available to them on their phone.”

Bytemark predicts that within five years, 34 billion mobile tickets will be delivered to mobile devices.

Individual development 
Mr. Bergdale also stressed the importance of developing these applications based off of the particular companies needs and operation. For instance, NY Waterway strayed away from scanning mobile ticket bar codes due to the overwhelming volume of travelers at one time, it proved faster and more convenient for the transit company to simply view the ticket prior during boarding.

Bytemark is also working to develop Bluetooth entry way systems for easy entry way into public transportation, in which travelers will not need to take out their phones in order to board. The technology will acknowledge a ticket has been bought on the mobile device through the Bluetooth technology.

The start-up currently has eight bids for future partnerships with transit companies, meaning the industry will likely move solely to mobile in the future. Especially due to the ineffective cost with using mobile devices rather than developing and purchasing ticketing machines for the transit companies.

Future endeavors 
Toronto public transportation provider Metrolinx is also using Bytemark and offers users the ability to purchase tickets through travel search engine sites Kayak and Expedia. Bytemark is also working on new application BusPlus that will offer a mapping system and ticket purchase integrated with numerous prevalent bus services such as PeterPan and Greyhound.

The company has focused on making its services available to global travelers as many other competitors limit its services to national users by needing a phone number or zip code native to the country.

Staying away from competing with services circled around event ticketing, Bytemark plans on expanding its services to provide backend utilities for platforms such as Its main focus is on transportation ticketing because that is where it sees the most growth and potential.

“In a year from now I would expect us to have double if not triple the amount of clients and that’s just based on the number of bids we have right now,” Mr. Bergdale said. “Mobile ticketing is really started take off within the public transit industry.

“We have eight active bids, which is the most we’ve ever had in the past three years,” he said. “So it really is picking up a lot of momentum.

“As you look forward over the next five years I would say we would be more developed within some of the other countries and expanding sales into those other markets and seeing where we can go in terms of licensing our solution out to different companies that are in other industries.”

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily