She’s got many tickets to ride

This post was written for the Ironhack bootcamp / Design Thinking Challenge 1.

Everybody knows that if you don’t have change, you can’t buy a ticket on the bus (at least in Paris). Last week I was very late for an appointment and had to take the bus even if I had no change. I got on the bus, just with my credit card and a big smile (under my mask) and I asked the driver for a ticket. How was I planning to pay ???

The driver looked at me with some weird expression on his face (I was expecting that) and he said : « I don’t sell tickets Madam ! ». I was so surprised by the answer (« how do people take the bus if you don’t sell tickets ? ») that the only move I could think of was to get off the bus. But the driver stops me and asks : do you have a mobile phone ? Well, yeah… is that surprising ? I thought.

She doens’t wait for the answer and says : « Just text BUS22 to this number » and you will get your ticket on your mobile. It will cost you 2 euros. »

OMG! When did the world change so much ? Probably while I was confined. For a year !

So good things happen !

But still, there are some unsolved users pain points out there regarding transportation.

Let’s get a look at them.

I did some research by interviewing 7 people around me aged from 24 to 48 years old. They live in Paris or its suburbs. Some were regular users: they need to take public transportation to go to work, to the university and when they are travelling in France or abroad. Some were occasional users: they take public transportation to go to the airport or when they are on a trip.

In general, those who use transportation occasionally own a car. They are used to the comfort of a car but avoid using a it in the center of Paris because it is difficult to get around or to park.

While doing the interviews I did a mind map with the pain points they reported.

Mainly the pain points occur when :

  • Taking transportation (Which bus or train ? Where to find it ? How long will I wait ? How crowded will it be ? What app to download to help me ? Which company to choose ? What are the options ?)
  • Buying tickets (Do I use a machine or go to selling point ? Where is the selling point ? How long will it take ? What kind of ticket ? How many tickets ? How do I pay ?)

If we focus on the action of buying tickets we see that very often buying different public transport tickets is necessary to go from point A to B. And the process of buying these tickets can be very annoying (queues, vending machines that don’t work, etc.).

Finally, things like pricing or purchasing the correct ticket can become a real pain when you are abroad.

Several apps can now help users to take transport more serenely. One of them is Citymapper.

They have plenty of really useful features everyone dreamed of for years like multimodal feature. But what about payment ?

What are the options ?

My task for this bootcamp challenge is to create a feature for the app that solves the pain of having to purchase different public transport tickets by different channels.

People leaving in Paris region have a pass that’s called Navigo. It’s very similar to the Citymapper Pass that is in place for Londoners. Knowing that I tried to image a feature for the app that doens’t require a pass and can be used everywhere. As it is an exercice, I have been told to forget about security issues and other limitations.

We got used to shop with websites and apps. So the simplest way for me is to add the journey to a cart. After doing that, the app shows a receipt for each part of the journey plus a QR code.

I thought about another option that would be to buy packages of a one day trip or more time for the big touristic cities (for a start). The same system exists buy you always need to buy a ticket or a card.

Paying transportation with your smartphone

In my opinion, the challenge is to find a way to make sure that everyone is paying his transportation journey easily and fairly and to review passenger screening methods so the user experience is evolving in a good way.




Product Owner and UX/UI designer apprentice.

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Product Owner and UX/UI designer apprentice.

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