As the 6th Ticketing Innovations Summit approaches, it was our pleasure to catch up with Ralph Gambetta, the summit chair, before the event. Ralph is the General Secretary of Calypso Networks Association (CNA) and was recently appointed Chairman of the Smart Ticketing Alliance. He has been active in various transport companies such as German Railway, International Railway Union (UIC) and RATP (Paris metro and bus operator). He was kind enough to discuss the state of the industry and his thoughts on the summit with us below:


Thank you for joining us again this year to chair the 6th Annual Ticketing Innovations Summit. You have participated in several previous editions, how have you seen those discussions shape where public transit is now in regards to ticketing?


Seeing the high level of speakers and participants in previous summits, it is evident that several of those opinion leaders have shaped evolutions in ticketing. Many topics discussed at the summits received more attention and have seen now major advancements and technology deployments. Overall, the sector is getting more and more digital and contactless. But there is still much road ahead of us in terms of the correct and inclusive deployment of smart mobility-related technology. 


Congratulations on your recent appointment as the Chairman of the Smart Ticketing Alliance! Being an integral part of that organization, what knowledge and experiences does that allow you to bring to our summit?


Thank you. After many years our chairman John Verity stepped down and I am more than privileged to take, together with my two vice chairs from VDV ETS and ATM Barcelona, the challenge to further develop this association and to strengthen our unique network of worldwide recognized stakeholders that advocate trust in ticketing for a more sustainable and integrated mobility offer. The Smart Ticketing Alliance background will allow me to bring in more governance and policy-making messages and promote the valuable goals of this organisation to other relevant stakeholders in the field. More nuanced insights on the adoption of existing standards and certifications will complement this.


Since we all met last year, what challenges have been impacting ticketing schemes and payment collection the most?


In my view, we are still at the stage of finding our way back into the new post-pandemic normal. The steep fall in terms of ridership needs to be overcome. The pandemic has deeply impacted people’s mobility needs and patterns. New realities in the business and labour sector will significantly shape the future demand for mobility services to which they will need to adapt and respond. The whole ecosystem, including authorities and operators, needs to review its current policies and deal with these new market realities. One of these market realities is the current shortage of chip components that also affects the mobility sector and consequently the ticketing industry.


In your opinion, what place does digitalization have in the revolution of urban transport?


One of the major key elements of all recovery plans is digitalization. Here for sure, the pandemic can be seen as a dramatic external shock that has accelerated the way to new forms and needs in the mobility sector. It is now that we jointly decide at the level of citizens and governmental institutions if the shift towards low emission mobility will become a reality. We will need a correct balance between the possibilities digitalization can provide and the resistance we may face when it comes to the reengineering of the labour market. Digital solutions and the related growing software centricity will significantly contribute to more sustainable mobility forms that shall enable us to reach our set climate goals. 


Our speaker lineup is packed with industry experts from across Europe. What sessions are you most looking forward to?


It is always difficult to choose some sessions as all of them are appealing and relate to topics that need to be addressed. Ticketing somehow in general needs to be reconsidered as most predictions that were made did not necessarily materialise. Many current and new ideas and concepts will be discussed and detailed during this year’s summit to which I am very much looking forward. On a personal note, I am quite curious to see what distributed ledger can bring to the ticketing sector. 


Join us during the 6th Annual Ticketing Innovations Summit to hear more insights from Ralph and the other industry experts who will be attending! Please visit our website to learn more about the summit, request your free brochure to see the full speaker lineup and register today to reserve your spot.

 Check out the below video to see what Ralph is most looking forward to at the summit: