Petter Sveen, FARA VP Commercial, shares with us his insights and opinions on industry trends, alongside his thoughts around joining FARA in the midst of the pandemic.
1. Petter, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at FARA?
In short, I have worked with Sales and Sales Support within the IT industry since 2004. The last couple of years I have worked for PE-owned companies and helped them on their transformation journey into the future. I joined FARA in August 2020 as VP Commercial. I am responsible for sales across the Nordic region, as well as contributing to making us a more customer-centric organisation.
2. Now that Covid restrictions are slowly being lifted across different countries, what challenges do you think the industry could be facing?
Regardless of the impact of Covid, the future of public transport needs to be reliable, flexible, safe and sustainable. What Covid has changed is the way we work, and subsequently changed the way we commute.
I recently read a Norwegian survey stating the proportion who want to travel by public transport has fallen from 60% in 2019 to 47% in 2021. 19% of those surveyed also expect to work more from home in the future.
As societies slowly re-open, we can expect an increase in public transport travel. This will not only be for travelling to and from work, people will also want to enjoy culture and sports events, restaurants and nightlife again, so there will definitely still be a need for public transport options.
To make public transportation attractive post-Covid and with our new social and work habits, I think there are two important considerations. The first will be to offer more flexible ticketing systems than what we have today. The second is to provide real time information on capacity on the buses. FARA’s automated Passenger Counting has proven to help run bus fleets efficiently and with crowded spaces still likely to be a concern for many, even after the pandemic is over, managing capacity is more important than ever for both driver and passenger safety.
3. How do you think ticketing and payments might change as a result of Covid? Is contactless now one of the preferred payment options by bus operators?
In the Nordics we have seen an increase in the use of mobile apps for payments and ticket purchases over the past few years, with contactless as the newcomer. From a user perspective, I think the most important factor is convenience and accessibility.
As I mentioned earlier, I believe that we will need a more flexible ticketing system. When people change how often they commute from 5 to 3 days a week, why would passengers buy an annual or a monthly ticket? We are currently working with a customer where we are introducing a “pay-as–you-go” solution and the “Best Price” principle, where discounts are applied based on actual travel. Passengers no longer pay upfront for a service that may or may not be used, but simply pay for the actual trips made. And the more a person travels, the better price they get in the end. Very convenient, right?
4. What FARA products and features should the industry watch out for?
Dare I say everything our Product and Development teams are working on at the moment is incredibly exciting! But seriously, all our products do genuinely play such an integral part in how public transport is operating today. In particular, the new ticketing solution we currently have in development, our SmartHub – which operates as the “brain” of the bus, our state-of-the-art Passenger Counting solution and our focus on Eco Driving and Electrified Buses are the key areas I am most excited about.
5. And finally Petter, if you could take a long bus journey with anyone famous, who would it be and why?
I’m a music nerd and a big fan of rock ‘n roll, so that couldn’t be anyone else than W. Axl Rose. Being the most reclusive and one of the most successful rock stars the past 35 years, I can’t think of anyone more interesting to spend a long bus journey with.
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