Masabi, transforming the way you buy bus tickets in UK and in USA

Over 950 Mn users of mobile phones globally are estimated to use their devices for mobile ticketing by 2018. Which is a rise from 458 Mn, back in 2013 according to a report from Juniper Research. There are companies in UK, who offer such solutions including Go Ahead, Masabi, Plymouth Citybus, ARRIVA bus, etc.

Masabi is a London based company and develops mTicketing solutions for the transportation sector. Masabi was Co-founded in 2001 by Ben Whitaker, Tom Godber and Ed Howson. The company secured $4Mn in Venture funding from m8 Capital after its initial $2Mn in its Series-A funding in 2010. Masabi raised a further $2.8 Mn from Fontinalis Partners, MMC Ventures and m8 Capital in March, 2013.

Masabi sells its smartphone platform, JustRide, to various transit agencies. JustRide is a cloud-based, end-to-end mobile ticketing and fare collection system. It constitutes various applications that enable ticket purchase, use and validation, all on the go. Masabi’s solution claims to enable transit agencies to revolutionize riding transit by allowing customers to purchase tickets without needing to wait in line.

Masabi claims to allow transit agencies to move away from locked-in systems, such as costly ticket machines and smartcards, to an open system that transforms passengers’ travel experience. Their technology according to the information provided, let transit agencies launch mobile ticketing for a significantly lower capital investment than the traditional fare collection systems.

Their smartphone validation software is on a ‘bring your own hardware’ model that allows agencies to select the device that’s aligned with their operations. The self-serving Mobile Tickets allow the transit riders to avoid long waiting lines.

In the video below you can see how Masabi works:

Source: MasabiVideos

Masabi launched U.S’s first system wide deployment of mobile ticketing for Boston’s MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) in November, 2012. According to Yahoo finance, Masabi was able to launch its JustRide system in 7 months at minimal cost to the MBTA. The cost of the operations has not been disclosed. Since its launch, the system had processed $3 Mn in transactions generating around 10% of ticket sales within 4 months of its launch.

Masabi’s partnership-based approach to implementing agile fare collection means that transit agencies can have a revolutionary mobile ticketing system in months, not years, as we have shown with the MBTA in Boston. Because Masabi takes on the risk of delivering the new service on-time and on-budget, we only succeed when the agency succeeds, says Ben Whitaker, CEO of Masabi.

Masabi works in partnership with major transport systems integrators in the US and UK, including Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), First Group, Cross Country Trains, Virgin Trains, Chiltern Railways, Greater Anglia and a numerous other transit agencies like thetrainline, Atos and Red Spotted Hanky.

Some of the competitors in this field include Trimet and mymobiletickets. Trimet, the public transit system of Portland, Ore., launched a mobile ticketing platform across all its services in mid September 2013. TriMet allows passengers to use mobile tickets across buses and commuter rail lines. In the first 10 days since its launch, TriMet has garnered $120,000 in sales according to one of their spokesperson. Whereas, the Masabi platform at MBTA has gathered $10 Mn in sales since its launch, according to Boston Magazine.

LTP View: People associated with MBTA are aware of its revenue problems. Such mTicketing platforms allow transit authorities like MBTA to reduce the need for cash handling thereby reducing costs. It also cuts down the ticket printing costs.

It is an encouraging sign to see players like Trimet joining the mobile ticketing market. This would benefit the customers to choose a mTicket platform of their choice. Masabi’s tie up with MBTA has ensured that Masabi enjoys a first mover’s advantage over players like TriMet.