Unicard News
Product spotlight: Account Based Ticketing
Unicard products revolutionising how passengers and transport providers use smart ticketing
July 14th 2023 by Unicard

For 20 years Unicard have been helping local authorities and their partners to unlock the true value of their data estates and ITSO interoperability, and today we are extremely proud to be playing a leading role in the transport data revolution with Account Based Ticketing (ABT).

Unicard’s ABT offering is built on our industry-leading Smart Office Cardholder Management System. Smart Office is the industry-leading tool for managing smart ticketing travel schemes using both ITSO and non-ITSO (e.g. barcode, cEMV) media. It enables scheme operators to manage all aspects of concessionary and commercial travel schemes, including customer records, products, payments, media, and third-party integrations.

In 2019 we launched our first ABT scheme: Swift Go, for Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), the UK’s largest in operation outside of London. This solution used Euclid’s fares and capping engine.

The Swift Go scheme simplifies and streamlines the travel experience for passengers by offering multi-modal ABT and travel across trams, buses and trains, as well as parking (using Automatic Number Plate Recognition) and bikeshare.

This single account, single payment, single fare capability is a vital step towards Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) type offerings, as it means that a single smartcard, app, or other token can be used to validate and transact across a range of travel and payment options.

The solution we delivered to TfWM included several other industry firsts. We launched a Software Development Kit (SDK) and accompanying service called Pay with Swift designed for retail, leisure, or MaaS providers to embed into their own apps. This solution allows retailers to charge the existing payment options or stored value held on a customer’s Swift account, process top-ups, and access identity and entitlements validation. This enables Swift to expand the ABT scheme’s acceptance and opens up the possibility of non-travel use cases in the future.

In July 2021, Swift Go was the first smartcard ABT scheme to launch three-day capping (in addition to the existing one and seven-day caps) to support flexible workers returning to the office after Covid-19 lockdowns. The Swift system supports a wide range of caps over a period of anywhere from one hour (aka Hopper fares) to one month, with multiple caps operating at the same time to provide the best value for passengers.

Usage of the Swift Go system continues to increase (it was most recently used to support Birmingham hosting the Commonwealth Games) and the ABT system is an integral part of the TfWM Future Transport Zone MaaS strategy.