Coronavirus Impact on the Transportation Industry and How QR Codes Can Help

The transportation industry has already been using QR Codes for ticket verifications. But due to COVID-19, QR Codes have become even more useful because of its safe scanning distance. Learn how QR Codes enable features such as getting feedback, timetable updates, access to WiFi, and many more in this article.

How has the transportation industry been affected by coronavirus?

Public transportation use has plummeted across the world as social distancing rules have become the new norm, and most of us are stuck at home. In the US alone, the public transit sector is predicted to lose up to $40 billion this year. This has led to massive budget cuts across the board, meaning that workforces have been slashed, and public transit capabilities have been decreased. The total effect on global public transit and how they will react remains to be seen.

Public transit usage across the globe during the coronavirus pandemic
Public transit usage across the globe during the coronavirus pandemic. Source: company.moovit.com

Why should the transportation industry use QR Codes now

In terms of inventory management efficiency, there is no better solution than QR Codes. This is precisely why QR Codes were developed because they can do so much more than Barcodes. QR Codes are formatted with a square shape, meaning they can be read both horizontally and vertically (2D), something that Barcodes (1D) can’t do. In addition, they also have a higher error tolerance, can hold much more data, and can even be used for much more than inventory management. So, the transportation industry can not only use QR Codes now but also implement them in the future to modernize its operations.

Everyone knows how QR Code works

The fact that anyone with a smartphone can scan QR Codes makes it super easy for both employees and customers to use. Unlike Barcodes that require special scanners, QR Codes can be scanned directly with a phone camera (Android and iOS) or with a third-party app, something that’s useful both for employees who are organizing products and for customers who’d like to access information. So no matter how they are displayed, all it takes is a smartphone and a few quick seconds to scan the QR Code.

QR Codes make inventory management more efficient and contactless
QR Codes make inventory management more efficient and contactless

QR Codes connect print to digital

QR Codes have become popular not only for inventory management but also for marketing and business purposes as well because they conveniently connect print mediums with digital platforms. If the purpose of your print ad or other print material is to help users find particular digital platforms or websites, then you need to put a QR Code on it. Without this essential connection between print and digital, readers have to try to find those links by typing them in separately, or do it later on, which they likely won’t do, because it’s too inconvenient. This not only is helpful for users, but it also makes ROI tracking possible for print ad campaigns.

A QR Code on a public bus connects users from offline to online
A QR Code on a public bus connects users to eBay mobile. Source: anetahall.wordpress.com

Furthermore, in the case that you’d like to use QR Codes on digital channels (such as social media or email marketing), this is also possible with a short URL that comes with all Dynamic QR Codes. So, QR Codes perfectly complement digital marketing campaigns as well.

Safe scanning distance

QR Codes have become quite the tech hero during the coronavirus pandemic. They have enabled contactless payments and information sharing, which governments and companies worldwide have recognized and began to implement. QR Codes are contactless because they have no minimum scan distance, meaning that someone can stand from a distance and still scan the QR Code. The only requirements are that the QR Code image needs to be large and high in quality. With social distancing requirements in place, QR Codes have made it easy to share information and make mobile payments without touching any public surfaces.

An example of a QR Code on a poster at a bus stop
An example of a QR Code on a poster at a bus stop

How the transportation industry can use QR Codes

While QR Codes are perfect for product inventory management, there are many more ways that QR Codes can be useful for the transportation industry. Here are a few examples to highlight how this works.

Touchless ticket verification

QR Codes enable public transit access with mobile tickets
QR Codes enable public transit access with mobile tickets. Source: it-trans.org

QR Codes also make ticketing processes easier, both for payments and for public transit access points. This method is already common in the airline industry and helps to streamline the payment and check-in process. Not to mention, using QR Codes for verification also lessens waiting times and eliminates long queues. Plus, during the times of coronavirus, passengers can now avoid touching public surfaces, which the public transportation industry desperately needs more of.

Bridge the gap between desktop and mobile

App installation promotion using QR Codes from Deutsche Bahn website
App installation promotion using QR Codes from Deutsche Bahn. Source: bahnhof.de

Your public transportation company likely has an app that makes it easier for passengers to plan and book tickets. How can you promote the app installations and make it easier for your customers to download it, especially if you don’t know which mobile device they are using? This is where an App Store QR Code comes in handy. With a single scan, your passengers can view detailed info of your app before selecting from which app store they’d like to download it. This method makes the process of installing your app easier as your customers no longer need to search for your app manually and risk installing the wrong one. Pair this QR Code on your website’s landing page and you have now closed the gap between desktop and mobile users as well.

Provide real-time timetable updates

Printed timetable with a QR Code that's linked to online schedule
QR Codes enable easy access to public transit timetable updates. Source: gvh.de

Printed timetables are not always up-to-date. If there are delays or cancelations, they won’t be reflected in the print version. So why not make it easier for your customers by providing a Website QR Code that’s linked to your online timetable that you can update anytime? Your customers then will get real-time updates if a bus is delayed or canceled so they can plan a different route for their journeys.

Improve your service with customer feedback

QR Code to get customer feedback on the backseat of a German train company
QR Code to get customer feedback on the backseat of a German train company. Source: inside.bahn.de

It is essential to collect customer feedback to not only improve your service but also make your customers feel valued. The process of getting feedback is not always the most convenient. Thankfully with the Feedback QR Code, you can easily add this to tickets or even print it directly on the backseats where it’s in full view of your passengers all the time. This way, they can easily scan it and send their feedback whenever they want, especially on long-distance travel where they’re the most relaxed.

Easy access to WiFi connection

QR Code to connect to WiFi on the train
QR Code lets your customers join your WiFi network with a scan

More and more city and regional public transportation systems are implementing WiFi access. They can make joining this WiFi easier by adding a WiFi QR Code, such as on the back of seats, on train tables, and on any print material inside the bus or train. Instead of needing to input a long and complicated password, passengers can automatically connect to the WiFi by scanning it. Alternatively, in the case that WiFi access is a paid service when a ticket is generated, that could also include a WiFi QR Code for individual passengers.

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