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INIT emerges as global evolving transport software force

With more than 40 years of experience, INIT is bringing its global expertise to Australasia to help solve key operator challenges

While at university, many students are focused on getting by and completing degrees. Dr Gottfried Greschner’s aim was different when he studied for his doctorate at Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). He always wanted to become an entrepreneur and saw the opportunity in his research project about on-demand transport to expand.

In 1983, he founded INIT as an extension of his research project alongside a handful of employees. Today, INIT is serving more than 1,100 global transport providers and bringing in 200 million euros, or roughly $330 million, in revenue.

“INIT was originally a university project that turned into a business idea and soon became a much-needed part of the German market,” INIT Australia sales manager Shane Bedford told ABC.

“Since these early days, INIT has always been one or two steps ahead of technology requirements for the transport industry – there’s been a real need beyond Germany for INIT’s solutions.”

Transport software provider INIT has foundations in Karlsruhe, but now it has more than 1,200 employees, over 30 global locations and is a worldwide leading supplier of integrated planning, telematics, dispatching and ticketing systems.

One of the numerous markets that INIT now serves is Australia and New Zealand. Around 15 years ago, INIT Australia was formed via a Brisbane office, with INIT wanting to expand into the local market and bring its various solutions to operators and public transport authorities in the region. Since then, INIT has continued evolving as a trusted supplier of ticketing, electromobility and fleet management software in the bus and coach sector.

INIT Australia’s move into the region was solidified shortly after its foundations with the successful tender to supply an account-based ticketing solution for Metro Tasmania. Shortly after, 10 of New Zealand’s 14 councils chose to go with INIT for its ticketing and bus technology software.

For an emerging business, these wins would be monumental. For INIT, the initial take-up of its ticketing capabilities followed a similar blueprint to other major global areas.

“Part of INIT’s success story is our modular system concept. It helps us to expand into regions, delivering solutions for the most pressing challenges in a market so we can showcase our expertise in other areas,” Bedford says.

INIT’s Shane Bedford. Image: INIT

“This was seen in North America when we started with fleet management and our Iris Automated Passenger Counting solutions, and meanwhile became a market leader with our ticketing solutions as well.

“It’s important to understand that customers benefit from our unique understanding of an operator’s processes, even if it’s just one feature of our portfolio. As we are delivering solutions for all tasks of public transport, we know by heart what lays ahead and follows in the process chain, so we can perfectly adapt our solutions and ensure functioning interfaces to third-party solutions.”

Whether it be ticketing software or fleet management solutions, INIT’s focus is to remain ahead of the curve. When winning ticketing contracts, which are generally long-term, INIT has aimed to provide a solution that is up to five years ahead of what the state of ticketing technology is currently like. This is due to INIT’s focus on being prepared for the future so that its technology remains as modern as possible, with INIT’s research and development team continuously working to update system features.

An example of this forward-thinking nature is INIT’s account-based system. With 12 cities globally currently using INIT’s account-based ticketing, INIT has become a market leader in the state-of-the-art ticketing solution sector in North America. This process is still ongoing, with Atlanta being the latest public transport authority to turn to INIT’s ticketing solution so that it can handle the massive crowds expected at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Unlike in North America, Bedford is already seeing a different environment in Australia and New Zealand, with INIT instead opting to go with a two-pronged approach to grow in the region.

“We’ve started asking about and investigating the challenges that operators face so we can provide solutions to help them with the transition to zero-emissions buses and fleet management issues,” Bedford says.

INIT’s presence in Australia has increased significantly in recent times, with Bedford appointed just over six months ago to lead the charge in the Australasian area. For years, INIT has been a background figure in the local bus and coach industry, attending events and spreading its ticketing system across certain jurisdictions. Now, Bedford’s arrival has helped INIT take an assertive position in spreading its brand and its capabilities to local operators.

INIT’s broad product portfolio covers all operational tasks of public transport providers. Three main areas in particular have been identified as extremely important for the operators of buses and coaches in Australia – electromobility, cloud-based ticketing solutions and cloud-based fleet management systems. INIT’s ticketing product is being used globally, including in Portland, America, Birmingham in the UK and Turku in Finland. INIT’s solutions for electromobility are also deployed across many cities and regions spanning across Europe, the US, the Middle East and Africa.

“We have cutting-edge options to help operators with their electromobility and fleet management needs,” Bedford says.

A major focus of INIT’s electromobility portfolio is to run the new wave of electric buses in Australia as cost-effectively as possible. Key features include charge management, range forecasting and monitoring.

“Our systems can range from checking whether the remaining battery charge is enough to finish a route to making complex decisions on the run that go well beyond forecasting,” Bedford says.

Image: INIT

“Our solutions can step in to ensure all buses are loaded highly efficiently, with our intelligent charge management feature allowing vehicles to connect to depot management systems and ensure there’s sufficient charging for bus fleets without tapping into expensive high-peak periods.”

Through charging prioritisation, INIT’s electromobility solution ensures buses are charged in an order and timeframe that is most cost effective and efficient for operators, all without the fleet manager having to lift a finger. INIT can supply this detailed autonomous solution after running simulations for zero-emissions bus fleets. From there, the technology takes over and helps make the right strategic decisions to run a daily fleet with as little risk as possible.

“The best charging strategy is critical for operators wanting to run electric bus fleets,” Bedford says.

“The system also introduces specific parameters, such as route typography and varying outdoor temperatures, to determine the impact on battery charge and usage, providing operational planning that is ahead of the game.”

On the fleet management side, INIT’s solutions vary from operational planning to dispatching and incident management. A comprehensive suite of INIT’s capabilities can even include real-time passenger information systems and encapsulating a solution that covers all bases.

This range of offerings has quickly excited Bedford about what the future holds for INIT in Australasia. With previous experience in cloud consultancy, he brings knowledge in software solutions to the German-based global force. With the zero-emissions transition beginning to gain traction in the region, Bedford wants INIT to be a trusted partner for local operators looking to embrace electromobility.

“INIT’s presence in Europe and North America has helped both areas get ahead in establishing zero-emissions bus networks with public transport authorities and operators,” Bedford says.

“I think Australia is behind this in terms of the zero-emissions push, so there’s a really good fit for INIT to offer its electromobility solutions to authorities and operators throughout Australia.”

To meet this growing demand, INIT is expanding around Australia and New Zealand. With a presence already established in Brisbane and Dunedin, INIT will soon open a Sydney office and appoint additional sales employees for the Australian and New Zealand region.

For operators, INIT’s presence in Australia may have started with its ticketing service being introduced on certain buses. Now, INIT will be more involved in the market, presenting potential solutions to key operational challenges throughout the country.

“We’re already bringing more systems to the market and have had local operator interest in regions like Queensland,” Bedford says.

“Our latest mobile ticketing model has attracted interest due to it being both app and cloud-based and requiring no hardware, including validators.

“It’s perfect for mid-sized operators wanting to connect with passengers through a modern app-based ticketing system that can also include bespoke advertising and designs.”

Bedford says INIT will be targeted in its approach to the Australasian market, approaching certain operators or authorities to ask about specific issues being faced. INIT Australia’s method will be to talk to operators and present ways they can overcome challenges. From there, Bedford is hopeful INIT can become a trusted partner for a range of operators both big and small around Australia.

“The key to our success is our deep understanding of the day-to-day challenges faced by bus operators,” Bedford says.

“What sets INIT apart is our ability to leverage our enterprise-level expertise and technology to deliver tailored solutions for bus operators of all sizes.

“Whether it’s enhancing operational efficiency, providing a better passenger experience or improving safety, INIT has a comprehensive portfolio of solutions that can address these critical areas.”

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