Mobile Boarding & Beyond: What Bus Companies Need to Focus on in 2021

CINCINNATI — Continued reopenings and successful vaccination campaigns will almost certainly lead to an increase in travel and tourism. While it may take some time to fully get back to pre-pandemic levels, bus and transit companies can benefit from this travel demand and bounce back from very difficult fiscal years.

From individuals taking short regional trips to visit family members they haven’t seen in a while, to tourists enjoying weekend trips, to college students heading home for a (hopefully) more normal holiday season later this year, there’s a lot of potential for bus companies to find customers in the coming months. And because the economy may take some time to recover, more cost-conscious consumers may prefer to take buses rather than more expensive options such as trains or planes. Still, bus companies need to provide a safe, pleasant experience for passengers in order to entice them back. 

What Bus Companies Must Focus on in 2021

Safely Increasing Capacity

As travel restrictions ease and customers become more comfortable being around other passengers, bus companies can start to increase the number of riders per trip. Still, safety measures like using masks and implementing enhanced cleaning practices will likely continue to be necessary for a while.

Bus companies should clearly state their health and safety practices so that customers can determine whether they’re comfortable getting on board. It would be a shame to lose customers who, for example, would take the bus if they knew there would be temperature checks and that they could open windows, but because that information isn’t publicized in advance, they choose to drive instead.

Increasing Payment & Boarding Efficiency 

That starts with reducing the need to line up at bus stations to purchase tickets. Many bus companies have already rolled out easy-to-use online payment systems, but if you haven’t yet, now could be a good time to do so. From there, passengers should easily be able to receive an e-ticket or some type of confirmation that can allow for fast boarding.

The less bus companies have to review paper tickets, the faster they can typically board the bus and avoid frustrating queues; when that happens in a location with multiple buses, sometimes customers don’t even know which line to get in.

Ideally, bus companies can even go beyond scanning e-tickets, which can still create logjams and require employees to physically get close to customers at a time that many still want to maintain social distance. Verification technologies like data-over-sound can allow for faster confirmations at a greater distance than when using QR codes providing the customer with an efficient & seamless mobile boarding solution. 

Improving Customer Experience 

In addition to providing a better experience regarding areas like cleanliness and boarding procedures, bus companies should also think about how they can elevate customer experience to win back those who might be considering other modes of transportation.

For example, providing more in-ride media options to compete with airplanes could be a benefit customers appreciate. Some bus companies also try to appeal to more of a luxury, business-class market, such as by offering more legroom than airplanes and food/beverages (which could be more practical post-pandemic).

Another approach to elevating customer experience and appeal to new customer segments could be to implement more sustainable practices. Some municipal bus operators use alternative clean energy sources, and commercial bus companies may increasingly have opportunities to upgrade to more environmentally friendly fleets in the coming years. Meanwhile, even small measures, like highlighting the environmental impact of using paperless tickets, could help provide a strong experience for customers.

What This Means for Your Mobility Company 

Implementing these types of measures can go a long way toward helping bus companies make up for the ridership drops experienced during the pandemic. Travel will likely see a strong surge, but to keep ridership up in the years to come, bus companies also need to think about how they can create these types of safe, sustainable, efficient experiences.

LISNR Co-Founder and BDPA Mission Partner Rodney Williams discusses data-over-sound technologies during a CES Smart City presentation.

In this new normal for mobility, contactless methods must operate at distances greater than what NFC or QR codes can provide. LISNR®, the most advanced ultrasonic platform, enables authentication across distances of centimeters to many meters. Plus, it’s secure, fast and easy-to-use for passengers.

LISNR®: The Most Advanced Ultrasonic Platform

Recently, BusUp, the #1 corporate bus commuter management platform in the E.U., integrated LISNR® to enable contactless mobile boarding pass authentication. As a result, the company aims to increase safety, efficiency and speed for its passengers through contactless ultrasonic technology. 

Learn More About Ultrasonic Technology by Calling LISNR® 

Want to see how your business can leverage data-over-sound technology to better serve customers in 2021? Get in touch with our team today. To learn more, give LISNR a call at 513-322-8400 or send them a message.

— Sources and photos: LISNR, #TeamLISNR, CTA, and bdpatoday


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EY selects LISNR as 2017 Connected World Communications Winner

RodneyWilliams-LISNR headshotCINCINNATI, OH–Rodney Williams leads one of the most disruptive companies in our emerging Internet of Things (IoT) space and mobile connectivity. His firm, LISNR,  provides a data transmission protocol that utilizes ultrasonic, inaudible technology that sends secure data over audio. Today, EY announces LISNR as Connected World Communications Winners for their 2017 Ohio Valley EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) recently launched the “CAC Digital Docent” App, an acoustic guide designed by WNDERS that uses LISNR technology to enhance the visitor experience. The app allows visitors to explore more deeply the Tomás Saraceno installation on view in the lobby, and features exclusive content, messages and experiences including a personal greeting from the artist himself. The activation is powered by ultrasonic audio company LISNR and will be the first use of LISNR technology in any museum in the world.

Instead of using outdated technology like headsets with recorded audio or Bluetooth beacons that require hardware, installation and maintenance costs, WNDERS, a mobile app platform for venues looking to enhance their visitor experience, opted to leverage LISNR SmartTone technology. SmartTones trigger the app upon entry. They direct visitors to additional exciting content tied to the exhibit, leading them on a journey through the artwork using video, images, and sound. The tones help visitors connect with Tomas Saraceno across social platforms, view related works. Visitors also have the ability to create a profile and digital collection of images and content.

LISNR’s high-frequency, inaudible SmartTone technology connects mobile applications and devices. When played over speakers, mobile apps with LISNR recognize the tone via the microphone. This additionally also detects micro-location within the venue. The tone then directs the app to an action and in this case it is extra content. Existing audio speakers are leveraged to craft a unique, evolving experience as one moves through the space. According to CAC Director Raphaela Platow, the greatest benefit of LISNR technology is that it not only enables better data transmission, but does it in a cost effective way with minimal hardware, installation and maintenance. This makes it easier for non-profit arts organizations with smaller budgets to get into the innovation and technology game to enhance the visitor experience. “We are continuously looking for innovative and cost-effective ways to connect with our audiences and give them deep and exciting insight into the works on view and the artists who created them. LISNR technology will activate our new app throughout the exhibition space and not only provide people with diverse information but also help us understand better how visitors use and move about our spaces.”

According to LISNR Co-Founder Chris Ostoich, “LISNR has powered experiences and connectivity for some of the world’s most admired brands and venues – including Wembley Stadium, The Staples Center, The Grammys, The Cleveland Cavaliers and more. We are excited to partner with the Contemporary Arts Center, Tomas Saraceno and WNDERS on the first augmented audio museum experience in the world using LISNR technology.”

The CAC Digital Docent App will have a huge impact on how CAC visitors interact with our exhibitions, acting as an interactive, virtual gallery guide. “ArtsWave aimed to bring the spark of innovation into the arts this spring with its first arts hackathon, ArtsWave Tech, and we’re thrilled to see the ideas coming to life,” ArtsWave President and CEO Alecia Kintner said. “The CAC Digital Docent app is an example of the amazing things that can happen when the arts and tech communities of Greater Cincinnati come together.”

This intersection of art and technology represents a significant partnership with a prominent and innovative member of the Cincinnati for-profit business community and an innovator in the Arts sector LISNR is a technology company headquartered in the city’s Central Business District. This is a company on the rise, having raised Series B financing led by Intel Capital, recently named 2017 Ohio Valley EY Entrepreneur of the Year, named one of CNBC’s Disruptor 50, a Gold Lion at Cannes Lions, and customers include The Cleveland Cavaliers, AEG, Budweiser, The Grammys, Visa and more.

As the CEO of LISNR, Mr. Williams has grown the company from a single idea to a promising global standard with more than 40 industry awards. As an entrepreneur, he’s received many accolades from a variety of publications. Williams also is a staple in his community mentoring and advocating for the voiceless. He recently was appointed to the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees.

Sources: LISNR and BizJournals.com
Photo credits: LISNR and EY

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