Be-In Be-Out (BIBO): Smarter Ticketing For Public Transport

Be-In Be-Out (BIBO) ticketing enables passengers to obtain ‘virtual tickets’ when traveling on public transport. It’s easy to use for anyone carrying a smartphone, and requires no action from passengers, other than just ‘being’ inside a vehicle. 

But how exactly does it work? And how can it be implemented effectively? Read on to find out more about why Be-In Be-Out (BIBO) is the way to seamless, safer and smarter ticketing for public transport

Be-In Be-Out ticketing is the next innovation in public transport

So, what exactly is Be-In Be-Out (BIBO)?

First thing’s first, let’s explain what exactly Be-In Be-Out (BIBO) is. 

There are various mobile ticketing systems out there. Some involve users having to scan a QR code, others require them to check in on their phones. All of these processes require travelers to interact with a system and consciously perform a task. But not Be-In Be Out. 

With Be-In Be-Out ticketing, a passenger can obtain a ‘virtual’ ticket just by being inside a vehicle. Certain infrastructures such as Bluetooth low energy (BLE) are in place to detect a passenger’s presence via their smartphone, enabling the entire ticketing process to take place automatically. 

There’s no searching around for phones or queuing at the ticketing point. Passengers can just be in and be out, as easy as that.

How does Be-In Be-Out work?

It sounds smart, but how exactly does Be-In Be-Out work? The system works with Bluetooth beacon technology to detect a user’s mobile device and initiate the ticketing process automatically. BLE beacons can be placed around stations and on public transport vehicles to determine exactly when a passenger enters and exits a station or boards a vehicle. 

With Be-In Be-Out, journeys can be recorded accurately to ensure the customer pays the correct fare. And payment can be made automatically and securely through the transport ticketing app. Passengers are spared the process of buying tickets, selecting the fare and paying with cash or card.

Instead, it all takes place ‘virtually’, enabling passengers to use buses and trains easily, conveniently and safely. All the customer has to do is enable location services on their smartphone and opt-in to share their location with the ticketing app.

BLE beacons in public transport

What are the benefits of Be-In Be-Out?

The Be-In Be-Out system offers numerous advantages for passengers and public transport operators alike.

Advantages for customers

For many commuters, traveling on public transport can be a blight of delays, congestion and stress. But Be-In Be-Out ticketing offers some light at the end of the tunnel. This innovative systems offers a fast and convenient solution for commuters. Plus, it’s a safer and more secure way to pay.

Compared to ‘active’ mobile ticketing systems like ‘check-in check-out’, the BIBO system is completely automatic. The technology does all the work, without any actions on the user’s part. All the passenger has to do is get on and off the vehicle with their smartphone, which can be left in their pocket or bag.

In addition, through the implementation of beacons, transport agencies can collect valuable data. This can be used for improving customer experience. For instance, operators might add additional services where needed, or send personalized notifications to passengers, increasing customer engagement and loyalty.

Benefits of Be-In Be-Out for customers

  • Customers can get tickets automatically while on the move
  • Eradicates the risk of lost or stolen tickets
  • Makes public transport more accessible
  • Fast, easy and uncomplicated
  • Automatic best-price billing
  • Safe & secure payment process
  • No queueing or interacting with ticketing points
  • Personalized communication, incentives and rewards
  • Improved services
Be In Be Out is a mobile ticketing system

Advantages for transport operators

Due to the rising popularity of beacon technology, along with the surge in the use in smart mobile devices, Be-In Be-Out could offer an effective solution for public transport agencies looking for the next innovation in mobile ticketing. Currently there are no public transport agencies implementing the system (but it’s being explored), so an opportunity exists to get ahead of the competition.

The system offers so many benefits for transport operators. BLE beacons are relatively cost-effective to implement and manage, and can be easily integrated into existing public transport infrastructure. When implemented properly, beacon technology also allows transport operators to understand more about their users’ behaviour and use that proximity data to offer improved services and a more personalised experience for commuters.

Benefits of Be-In Be-Out for transport agencies

  • The next innovation in public transport
  • Cost effective to implement and manage
  • Precise tracking, even in areas with limited internet access
  • Accurate fare calculation and collection
  • More ticket options for increased sales 
  • Accurate data collection
  • Improved user engagement & experience
  • Increased flexibility and convenience 

What are the disadvantages?

Be-In Be-Out is a seamless and convenient mobile ticketing system, but it’s not without its disadvantages. There are some factors discouraging its adoption, these include the following:

Privacy & security concerns

The tracking and location data element of Be-In Be-Out is a privacy sensitive issue for some consumers. It goes without saying that there can be no BIBO system without data security and the expressed consent of the user.

To allay privacy concerns when implementing beacons or other location-based technology, businesses should look for providers who are committed to user privacy, especially with regards to location data. For instance, the PlotProjects plugin comes with upgraded beacon monitoring, plus an array of industry-leading privacy tools and features.

Battery reliance

Another disadvantage is that passengers need to rely on their mobile phone battery. If their battery fails, they won’t be able to show a valid ticket when encountering a ticket inspector. One way around this is to use location technology that’s optimized for low battery use. Another way is to equip ticket inspectors with a battery pack.

Ticketing fraud

Another concern with BIBO, or indeed any similar ticketing system is the issue of ticketing fraud, such as users turning off their Bluetooth connection mid-trip to trick the system into charging a lower fare.

If Bluetooth is disabled or the mobile connection lost, the system is still able to collect enough location data to calculate fares. But if a user’s phone is powered off, it can’t. One solution is to monitor for fraud prevention and provide guidance for customers. Ultimately, it relies on passengers to use the system honestly.

Proof of subscription

Walking on and off a public transport vehicle without physically paying might take some getting used to. Users might feel self conscious and want to display a proof of subscription for other passengers to see.

Similar mobile ticketing systems

Electronic fare collection is nothing new. There are many examples of companies using contactless, NFC and QR-code technologies for this purpose. However, some transit agencies are experimenting with other technologies to collect fares.

The Be-In Be-Out system itself has been widely tested, but has not yet seen wide-scale adoption. Chiltern Railways tested it back in 2016, and its adoption in The Netherlands was researched by Delft University in 2017.

More recently, Germany’s Stadtwerke Osnabruck launched a similar system called check-in/be-out (CIBO) with its YANiQ app. The app requires riders to check in with a swipe, then simply leave the transit vehicle at the end of their trip. BLE beacons are combined with GPS and motion-sensing data to track the passenger’s journey. Then the back end calculates the ticket pricing based on the best available fares.

There are also some ‘check-in check-out’ (CICO) ticketing apps in operation in Germany using technology from Switzerland-based Fairtiq. But these require users to both check in and check out at the start and end of their journey. Another system was launched by the transport ticketing agency TIP in Portugal, using a hybrid NFC check-in/be-out system for its Anda mobile app.

Why to choose PlotProjects for Be-In Be-Out

As the industry leaders in location technology, we are constantly working on the further development of beacon and geofencing solutions. This includes our wider strategy to deploy our technology in digitizing commercial practices with travel infrastructure partners.

With years of experience and expertise, we’ve developed the Plot plugin to offer high-end accuracy and low battery use for the perfect balance between data quantity and quality. Our full featured platform has got you covered with beacons, geofences and location-based notifications, along with a robust analytics platform, easy-to use-dashboards and easy integrations across your entire digital infrastructure. 

What’s more, we’re fully committed to respecting user privacy, especially with regards to location data. Don’t forget, the Plot SDK comes with upgraded beacon monitoring, plus an array of industry-leading privacy tools and features.

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Our industry-leading software makes it possible to gain valuable location insights and deliver highly-relevant push notifications and in-app experiences at exactly the right moment. Easy to integrate, our solutions can grow with your business, from simple to complex use cases.

If you need help getting started with beacons and geofencing, or you want to find out more about how our platform can drive results for your business, contact PlotProjects today.

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