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2023 retrospective: a year of innovation and growth for Kuba

Date: January 8th 2024 | Author: catherinegoddard

At APTA Expo in October 2023, Kuba unveiled a new account-based ticketing (ABT) platform, demonstrating the scalable, modular, multitoken solution end-to-end. 

Delegates could tap fare media on Kuba validators and watch as our merchant and passenger portals showed fares calculated in real time. The system worked flawlessly, and energising conversations confirmed its potential for transit agencies in the US and beyond.

The new kid is growing up

That was one of many highlights of a year in which Kuba has grown: 

  • Revenue: another year of stellar growth, doubling our revenue in the calendar year
  • Deployments: one new region or city deploying Kuba ticketing systems each week
  • Transactions:  we have seen an uplift in transaction volume of 80%
  • People: 16.5% increase in our headcount as we expanded teams

From being a newcomer to the industry in 2019, we’re proud to be expanding our footprint and building a reputation for raising the bar in mobility innovation.

Collaborative mindset

 

Kuba 20:30 Club members stand together outside a Routemaster bus in November 2023

We’ve also developed as individuals and as collaborators. Kuba people from five regional offices have many different valuable skill sets. Increasingly, they are part of a ‘global team’ and see extraordinary benefits from working together to solve problems and develop ideas.

Last November, the Kuba 20:30 Club demonstrated how powerful that can be. We brought 25 employees from different business units – from the UK, France, Denmark, and South Africa offices – for four days of carefully curated activities and workshops in London.

The program was designed to create a network of future leaders and empower them to think about the challenges we face and how to solve them. The event created friendships, strengthened professional bonds, and will continue to motivate global teamwork.

Making a difference

Looking back on 2023, we’re confident we made an impact. We provided solutions to our customers, enabling them to transform the passenger experience and increase operational efficiency. Helping them to reach their targets, we consistently met our number one goal – to put our customers (and their customers) front and centre of everything we do.

2023 success stories 

Here are some highlights of the year that stand out in our regions:

Enabling seamless journeys in France

In 2023, our French team delivered a number of ambitious projects. In Perpignan, Kuba’s ticketing solution was integrated with PSP Littlepay, enabling open payments. New hardware was introduced, including validators, POS systems, and inspection devices. 

In Oise, Kuba partnered with Cityway and Equans to introduce an interoperable ticketing and passenger information system. The project involved a major system upgrade to facilitate card-based ticketing and open payments for more than 20 local authorities and 16 operators. Kuba validators and driver consoles were installed in 850 vehicles.

The largest administrative region in France, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, contracted Kuba to develop an account-based ticketing system with open payment capability for its multimodal regional and urban public transport networks. This will create a seamless journey experience for passengers travelling across an expansive area using multiple mobility providers. 

Our partnership with La Banque Postale was cemented in November 2023. Continuing to work closely with the bank and its subsidiary Ezyness for acquiring services will be an asset as we support more French cities and regions to offer seamless open payments. 

Motivating sustainable travel in Italy

Kuba’s Italy team has been busy providing and maintaining passenger-focused ticketing systems in Rome, Palermo, and Tuscany. Our solutions for ticketing and inspection are helping customers drive revenue and reduce fare evasion. 

Our Tuscany project shows how Kuba’s SaaS approach can be delivered at scale. The initial phase in 2021 involved supporting Autolinee Toscane, an RATP Dev company, to take control of more than 20 independent bus operators. The transition to a multi-operator ticketing system was managed overnight without missing a beat.

In 2023, Kuba remained integral to operations, providing the account-based ticketing system, which now has more than 400,000 registered users. It enables riders to use their National ID card as a token to travel, and to prepay for tickets and passes online, or at 3,000 points of sale in ticket offices and concessions. In 2023, the value of sales increased by nearly 20 percent, with an average of €2.3m handled by our system every week. 

Digitising mobility in the US 

The achievement of developing our new account-based ticketing platform, which was showcased at the APTA Expo, was one of many high points of our Danish team’s year. 

The 4.0 version of its mobility platform, the basis for the award-winning GoPass app, was released. This migrated user IDs from phone numbers to email, enabled social logins, and created an events promotion module. In addition, RideCo and Via were added to its roster of integrated microtransit services. New features are available to existing customers, including Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), and any further transit agencies coming on board.

Among the team’s other achievements was the release of the 2.0 version of Valley Metro’s app for Phoenix. Initially launched in 2021 as a journey planning and tracking app, the latest update included enhancements to the trip planning functionality and the inclusion of mobile ticketing. Users now have a single sign-on app to plan, track, and pay for journeys. 

The growth metrics in the mobile side of our business are evidence of the industry trend towards the increasing digitisation and integration of transit ticketing. Transactions processed via our mobility platform grew by 63% year on year in 2023. 

We also saw massive growth in on-demand transit – with on-demand trips completed using our mobile platform growing by 78%. This is partly due to the increased popularity of these services but is also an effect of connecting more microtransit services.

There’s no better proof of delivering excellent mobile apps than the verdict of the people who use them. Our development team in Denmark is proud of its consistently high app store ratings – with its white-label apps averaging 4.8 out of 5 throughout 2023.

Accelerating the journey to contactless in the US 

Kuba’s US team has worked closely with the California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP) to enable more transit agencies to accept contactless, open-loop payments. 

A Venmo card is used to tap on a contactless validator in Santa Barbara in 2023

Technology suppliers, including Kuba, were granted MSAs by the State of California to provide a modular solution for contactless fare collection. Transit agencies can leverage standard agreements to procure and deploy a cost-effective system easily and quickly. 

In 2023, projects in Santa Barbara, Monterey, Northern California, and South Carolina saw increasing adoption, with Monterey Salinas Transit recording 50,000 taps on Kuba validators in three months after installation. With a validator fail rate of less than one percent, rider satisfaction is high, which makes bus drivers’ lives easier.

Revolutionising fare collection in South Africa

In South Africa, our team navigates a distinctive mobility landscape where over 200,000 minibus taxis are the most popular form of public transport. 

In 2023, we developed the first automated fare collection system for taxis in South Africa, which enables associations and operators to transition away from cash payments. A pilot went live in October with two taxi associations and was well received by operators and commuters using their services. 

Our new solution offers excellent potential to taxi associations wanting to improve the safety, reliability, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness of taxi operations. It also paves the way for integrated multimodal ticketing and payments across buses, bus rapid transit, passenger rail, and taxis – a major objective for South Africa’s Department of Transport. 

Resolutions for 2024

Only a few years into our journey, our mission to ‘simplify payments and transform mobility’ is gathering momentum. We remain as passionate as ever about making fare collection easier for our customers and their riders, which contributes to improving people’s lives, enriching communities, supporting local commerce, and creating more liveable cities. 

2024 will see us pour more energy into our ‘every year resolutions’ to:

  • Always put our customers first
  • Act on problem-solving ideas fast and fearlessly
  • And never settle for ‘good’ when we can be ‘great’

Get in touch today to see how Kuba can help you to meet the mobility challenges in your city or region.

2023 in numbers

Kuba key numbers for 2023