TO: SEPTA Stakeholders
FROM: SEPTA – Digital Innovation Tiger Team (DITT)
DATE: October 2017
SUBJECT: SEPTA Key Mobile App
The SEPTA Key Mobile App Prototype is a powerful application that has the potential to bring the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) into the digital and social media age of transportation apps. The mobile app will allow SEPTA to reach a larger demographic of consumers, compete with new alternative transportation means, and provide a more satisfying user experience to its customers. The capabilities of the app range from auto-loading payments; notifications of low balance alerts, police activity, or environmental issues to users; front face swipe scanning; gamification; rewards; and advertising.
The DITT has performed a detailed market assessment of SEPTA’s competitors (Uber, Lyft, Taxi’s, rental bicycles, and rental cars) that affect the utilization of public transportation in Southeastern Pennsylvania. In addition, market research performed by the Brookings Institute identifies that smartphone ownership has increased from 35% in 2011 to 68% in 2015. To date, SEPTA has not fully taken advantage of new technologies to engage consumers in the digital space or effectively through mobile applications in its marketplace. Research shows that there are opportunities to engage consumers through digital means which have the potential to provide a customer experience that satisfies their needs and draws them towards SEPTA.
As rideshare companies expand and continue to take a foothold within SEPTA’s sphere of influence, it is critical to present consumers with an attractive option in order to maintain current users and to gain new followings to utilize public transportation. According to Statista.com, the ridesharing segment is forecasted to maintain continual growth and by the year 2022 reaches 684.4 million users worldwide. A fact bearing on the situation is that SEPTA has seen a decrease in ridership, primarily along its bus routes due to the rise of rideshare companies, rental cars, and bicycle options available. Initially, it was thought that ridesharing companies were only competition to taxi companies, but statistics show that the public transportation sectors have felt the effects of their climb in popularity. It is for this reason our team has developed a mobile app prototype which would allow SEPTA to remain competitive in this market space.
In our efforts to identify a better and more efficient solution for the SEPTA Key payment refills, brought to light, not only a viable fix, but also additional capabilities which could enhance the users experience. Currently, the two mobile apps SEPTA has are the Scheduler and Transit Police apps. Both apps are singular dimensioned in nature. The SEPTA Key Mobile App Prototype expressly creates a multi-purposed app which embeds SEPTA’s current applications into a consolidated consortium of enterprise functions within the app.
This new mobile app technology will provide SEPTA users with the ability to perform or encounter the following activities:
Phase I Activities
- Front Face Scanning – Allows the consumer to Swipe iPhone or Android in front of barcode scanner instead of Key Pass for access
- Auto-loading: Provides the ability for auto-loading versus going through the tedious website to reload credits on the SEPTA Key Card
- Notifications: Provides alert notifications of low balance, police activities, environmental issues, etc. to consumers
- SEPTA Scheduler App – Existing function on current app to be consolidated during this phase
- Transit Police App – Existing function on current app to be consolidated during this phase
Phase II Activities
This phase includes advertising, gamification of rides, and rewards capabilities. As SEPTA bus utilization competes with share-ride providers and other competitors, these activities provide an opportunity for SEPTA to fill some of those vacant seats. The rollout of these activities will require further development to ensure their employment is successful.
- Gamifying Rides – Provides the ability to engage consumers with fun activities which promote riders participation (Example: Pokémon Go Style); it allows SEPTA to channelize activities toward certain underutilized routes.
- Advertisements: Provides the opportunity to partner with firms or brands to solicit their products and services through utilization of the app. The advertising proceeds have the potential of providing value to SEPTA’s bottom line.
- Rewards: The potential revenue that maybe earned through advertisements may provide funds to use as rewards for participants that make purchases through the SEPTA Key Mobile App.
The SEPTA Key Mobile App has the potential to be revolutionary to the public transportation market segment. The app promotes customer engagement and a user experience that is comparable, if not better to leading competitors in SEPTA’s market. Moving forward with the development of this mobile app could provide a win to consumers, SEPTA, and its stakeholders.