Swiss Rail plans to test a new smartphone app that will charge you when you arrive. The app will automatically search for the cheapest fare once the journey has ended, promising users the lowest possible fare.
The new app, which will be added to Mobile Preview, will be tested in 2018.
Two companies, Lezzgo and Fairtiq, already offer a similar service. Their apps track your phone and require you to check in and check out when you reach your final destination. If you switch off the device’s location services the apps deactivate. This means you’ll be travelling without a valid ticket. And, if your phone runs out of juice you’ll also end up ticketless, although this is unlikely to happen given most Swiss trains have charging points.
Both apps currently have limited coverage. Lezzgo works in parts of central and western Switzerland. Fairtiq works in parts of central and eastern Switzerland – neither work in Geneva, Basel or Zurich.
Both consume a fair amount of data. Fairtiq says its app sends and receives about 5MB of data per hour when in checked-in mode, not much but it could add up.
Half price cards can be used in combination with both services.
According to 20 Minutes, Lezzgo has 10,300 users, and Fairtiq 30,000. These two companies are understandably concerned by the entry of Swiss Rail into their space.
Some wonder if this could be the beginning of the end of standardised pricing. One commenter on 20 Minutes asked whether there would be any discounts for standing up. Many questions remain unanswered. Watch this app space for developments.