Another year in transport ticketing: Calypso in 2021

2021 was another year of unprecedented challenges. Fluctuating passenger numbers meant public transport operators (PTOs) and public transport authorities (PTAs) had to do more with less. Meanwhile, changing passenger behaviours require extra thought as part of transit ticketing strategies. Philippe Vappereau, CNA General Manager, looks at some of the highlights from its latest CNA Activity Report and its work evolving ticketing through open solutions.

As the governing body of Calypso technology, CNA was founded with one simple aim: to support the use of the open Calypso technology standard, and to enable transport and mobility operators to control and advance their contactless ticketing systems. Our work in 2021 continued to focus on this mission.

The numbers say plenty. CNA’s membership community grew again, taking us to 112 members, including manufacturers, consultants, PTOs and PTAs. Calypso cards also remained in demand as we topped 60 million shipments since 2019. A major milestone was reached with mobile ticketing, with around one million activated solutions. It is estimated that every day, over 31 million passengers use Calypso technologies to take public transport.

However, 2021 also highlighted the need for networks to develop strategies that accommodate increased unpredictability. For ticketing, this means supporting fare flexibility, developing effective, joined up Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) policies and developing an overall smarter, inclusive contactless experience.

Beyond the numbers, facts and figures, and with the key challenges faced by public transit in mind, how did Calypso and CNA collaborate, educate and innovate in 2021?


Enhancing and evolving our leadership

As a member association, enhancing CNA’s leadership is an essential part of its strategy to help it evolve the Calypso standard and ensure it aligns with the industry’s needs.

Part of this involves ensuring CNA’s leadership accurately reflects the global transport ticketing community and its membership. Last year saw three new appointments to its Board from PTOs and PTAs. In addition, CNA’s leadership developed with the creation of a new Advisory Board made up exclusively of adhering members, who will support the Board by bringing a concrete view of the market and issues facing ticketing manufacturers.   

Together, these developments in CNA’s leadership ensure the voices, ideas and experiences of the entire ticketing community will continue to be heard at the highest level.


Building trust through certification

Reflecting CNA’s commitment to building integrity and trust for smarter contactless ticketing, 2021 was a very active year for CNA’s certification programme. Alongside functional certification for cards, contactless interfaces and terminals, CNA also unveiled an enhanced security certification process.

Developments in this field are important for the m-ticketing sector owing to additional security considerations. To help, CNA launched the Calypso HCE Certification scheme to create a “security by design” approach for developers of Android-based solutions. The scheme draws on learnings from the banking industry and its work securing contactless payments for smartphones and wearables.


Supporting flexible, smarter, cost-effective ticketing

CNA recognises that many operators and authorities are working with stretched resources. Any tool that facilitates smart, innovative and cost-effective ticketing is therefore essential. This is why CNA donated Eclipse Keyple, an open-source software development kit (SDK), to the ticketing community. As a simple, universal tool that is free to use, Keyple is a framework empowering the ticketing community to innovate and create advanced ticketing software flexibly, timely and cost-effectively, regardless of their experience.

In 2021, Keyple 2.0 was released, facilitating the implementation of terminal processing operating smart card readers. Keyple is becoming increasingly vital in supporting PTOs and PTAs to navigate unpredictability in transit and the need to support more flexible, smarter ticketing to attract passengers. This could be for a new tariff structure or supporting MaaS ticketing policies. Whatever solution users have in mind, with Keyple they can develop it independently from their hardware provider and without the need for costly specialist training.


Education and networking

As a community-centric organisation, education and networking are an essential part of CNA’s strategic priorities. 2021 saw another active events programme, including the return to physical and hybrid events following a period of only virtual interactions. The Partners Day, Mexico Tech Day and Open Session provided valuable learning opportunities around the Calypso standard, including a showcase of the diverse range of innovative ticketing solutions Calypso has unlocked.

Alongside events, 2021 also saw the publication of a range of educational material that illustrates Calypso’s diverse portfolio. These ranged from new brochures for the card-based solutions, a new guide to Calypso for Mobile and an eBook produced in collaboration with the OSPT Alliance on the myths and misconceptions around open standards for ticketing.


Facing 2022 and beyond with confidence

The next 12 months will see CNA continue to educate and collaborate with the ticketing community and work with its enhanced leadership to ensure Calypso and CNA evolve in line with key issues and trends. Member services will expand to offer more tangible benefits that enhance collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Beyond our strategic services, we will also continue working on our certification programme. It will also see the early launch of Calypso Basic, offering low-cost, smart, secure contactless ticketing for casual passengers, supporting the demand for more flexible ticketing solutions.

Ticketing is a vital partner for public transit, and the sector will still face significant immediate challenges as it responds to changing passenger behaviours. However, as a community, CNA is committed to empowering the ticketing world to build an inclusive, smarter future for transit.

For a more detailed summary of CNA in 2021, read our latest Activity Report. Interested in being part of the community shaping the future of ticketing through open standards? Find out about becoming a CNA member or get in touch.