Image showing the U-Abo being used by a woman at a train station in Basel while a robot form Nothing Interactive looks at her.

Basel's U-Abo goes mobile: the travel card on your smart phone


Basel’s U-Abo revolutionised: Nothing Interactive, Tarifverbund Nordwestschweiz and Netcetera bring the well-known travel card onto your mobile phone.

The digital transformation of the U-Abo

The digital U-Abo is the first Swiss travel card which is truly mobile. Everything can be done with just your mobile phone: From buying a ticket to identifying yourself to, of course, riding train, bus and tram. Nothing Interactive collaborated with the BLT Baselland Transport AG, the BVB Basler Verkehrsbetriebe and technical partner Netcetera to create the mobile version of the long-standing “Umweltschutz-Abo” (“environment card”) of Basel.

The U-Abo, a monthly or yearly travel card for the tariff network Tarifverbund Nordwestschweiz (TNW), has been around for more than 30 years. As of now, the card is also available on smart phones. You can simply buy and register your U-Abo on your own phone. No complex login is needed, and you can buy your card whenever you want: For the first time, the U-Abo can be renewed continuously. Even larger purchases, for instance for a yearly travel card, can be made via phone.

Collaboration between four parties

Nothing Interactive took on responsibility for the entire design of the new U-Abo. We also supported the project with UX consultation and helped finding a clear focus by following a radical Mobile First strategy. We could benefit from our previous success, the “Tickets” app, which we realised together with the Baselland Transport AG and Netcetera.

As a hub between design and technology, we emphasised including all parties equally: BLT and BVB, who represented the Tarifverbund Nordwestschweiz, just as much as Netcetera on the technical side. Instead of using complex specifications, we worked with prototypes. Thanks to the intuitive representation, we could thus ensure that all decision makers understood the soon-to-be U-Abo and could bring in their concerns. The result is quite something: An innovative new U-Abo which is truly mobile first! See for yourself: The application is now available on iOS and Android.

More about the topic

We have been working together with Baselland Transport AG for more than two years. More about our collaboration: