Cleantech Disruptors — An interview with Michel Yerly, CTO of FAIRTIQ
Cleantech Disruptors is a series of interviews showcasing innovative cleantech startups, who through the development of disruptive technologies are changing the future.
FAIRTIQ are an innovative, dynamic company that makes travelling by public transport easier than ever before. The FAIRTIQ app offers the simplest, most cost-effective tickets — for travellers, transport authorities and public transport operators.
After a successful launch in Switzerland, they are expanding into new markets with the ultimate goal of simplifying sustainable mobility internationally. Here we find out what Michel Yerly, CTO, has to say about the app itself, the transport revolution, the successes so far and what’s next for FAIRTIQ.
So what is FAIRTIQ?
FAIRTIQ is a mobile app that allows people to use public transport without having to worry about which tickets to purchase. Thanks to GPS the app understands where the person has been travelling and automatically buys the right tickets and charges their credit card, seamlessly. People can change to connecting buses or trains, even when they’re operated by different companies.
The user starts the journey tracking by swiping the slider and while they’re checked in, they can display a valid ticket in case of inspection. It’s working in Switzerland, Lichtenstein, soon in Austria, and in several regions and cities of Germany.
What was the inspiration?
The Swiss national railway had been working quite a while on a card-based system, with equipped vehicle doors that recognised people entering and leaving the vehicle. That never became a reality though, mainly because of the hardware costs; both investment and maintenance.
With the rise of smartphones and mobile data, we thought we could make a hardware-free solution by leveraging people’s mobile phones. We started small, a couple of Swiss regions, with a few innovation-oriented public transport organisations. After 2 years we had the whole territory covered and were set to expand abroad!
How are you disrupting the industry?
We’re disrupting the public transport ticketing industry by offering a cheap, yet very reliable, sales channel to the public transport organisations. You can see it as a “sales channel as a service”. When compared to vending machines, gates, or even online shops, FAIRTIQ is a relatively low investment and has low operational cost. At the same time, we offer the simplest way for users to pay for their journeys. What’s not to love in this win-win-win product?
Let’s talk about some of the great successes so far…
As it’s a collection of small successes, I see FAIRTIQ itself being the great success. The ever growing active user base, our international expansion and the increasing amount of partners are its pillars. Having nationwide organisations, as well as regional operators as clients, confirms the product-market fit.
We’ve received multiple awards; maybe the most relevant being UITP Awards and Transport Ticketing award in London, and being recognised as one of the top 10 in the European start-up prize for mobility!
How does your business impact people / the public?
I believe that the more simple sustainable mobility is, the more people use it. Simple may also mean that operators have the right offers for their customers. FAIRTIQ not only removes the ticket purchase barriers, it also allows operators to experiment quickly and effectively with new tariff models, that would be otherwise difficult to achieve. For example, Göttingen in Germany rolled out a bee-line tariff, where people pay the distance as the crow flies.
We continue to expand the coverage of FAIRTIQ so that more and more people can benefit from it. At the same time, we keep developing the app to make it even simpler to use. Is that even possible? I think so!
Want to see how it works? https://youtu.be/i9c0zncYqg4