For those of you that know us here at Ticketer, you’ll know that we won’t let this frightening virus stop us innovating. In fact, quite the contrary, and we’re more determined than ever to innovate to support the industry, that we’re so proud to be a part of.
We’ve all had to adapt and that’s not easy at times. Uncertainty breeds anxiety, and it’s this fear of the unknown that can feel overwhelming. But it also forces us to push boundaries and bring about brave, fresh new ways of looking at the world. And that’s no bad thing.
That’s how we’ve approached these uncertain times and for Ticketer it means yet another set of new challenges for us to take on. Our friends and colleagues across the industry have been sharing what’s keeping them awake at night and we’ve been working away in the background to come up with ways of easing those pain points and helping them adapt to this whole new world.
For us, we see two key areas of focus:
- Help increase passenger safety onboard to protect both passengers and drivers
- Deliver maximum operational efficiency for Operators to ensure survival
So, what have we been working on to help Operators, Passengers and Authorities navigate through this?
Our first priority has been to support driver and passenger safety by helping Operators upgrade to fully touch-free ticketing whether that’s EMV Contactless and/or mTicketing, but we’re also proud to say that there’s a whole longer list of activity and developments we’ve been working on:
1. Passenger and driver safety
Implementing the £45 EMV CONTACTLESS card limit
Don’t just take our word for it, our friendly Operators can verify the smooth transition:
— Matt Burley (@Mattburley2) April 6, 2020
Just upgrading the software to test the higher contactless limit, to £45. Its good to see @Ticketer_UK helping us in these hard times. When rolled out all tickets will be available for contactless payments.
— Chris Thompson (@ThompsonCJ91) April 6, 2020
Thanks @Ticketer_UK for making it so easy to update our ticket machines to allow the new contactless limit. Always great to work with 🙂
— Whippet Coaches (@GoWhippet) April 30, 2020
Road Restriction Alerts
Providing enhanced safety for new drivers and routes, especially important during Covid-19 diversions. As double deckers may be put on former single decker routes or drivers take on new routes as more buses are scheduled to meet the same demand, we have been working on road restriction alerts based on GPS, Ordnance Survey and vehicle attributes entered onto the Ticketer Portal, to trigger an alarm on the ETM when the bus is close to a restricted throughway such as a low bridge.
Dave Lynch, Chief Information Officer of FirstGroup, comments
“Since the Government’s announcements regarding social distancing on public transport, we have been working round the clock to find ways to innovate so that on our buses we can ensure safe, socially distanced space for our passengers. We are immensely proud that we have been able to develop this new system so quickly with Ticketer, empowering our drivers to be able to manage the capacity of each bus.”
Passenger counting: Innovative and enhanced capacity measurement
A simple, but effective, enhancement to allow drivers to accurately record passengers both on and off the vehicle, to keep a total count, measured against capacity thresholds which are defined per vehicle. Operators can easily set capacity on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis via the Ticketer Portal. Importantly, recording passengers via the ETM means the driver knows exactly how many people are on the bus, rather than relying solely on an app-based solution (such as Bluetooth or crowd-sourcing) that requires the majority of people to be using the associated app, which may not always be possible. The capacity data is also available in the back office and can be made available to Operator apps, therefore making sure everyone has access to this key information. That’s drivers, Operators and passengers alike. Our solution provides accurate passenger counting and takes the stress away from drivers and passengers to judge whether it is safe to board.
Capacity management can be extended to wheelchair bay availability. Recognising the importance of this, Operators can now be aware, and can advise disabled passengers in advance, whether they can be accommodated onboard, thereby avoiding travelling to the bus stop only to wait in crowded areas unnecessarily.
Bus stop capacity monitoring
To enhance passenger safety and increase operator’s capacity awareness. Drivers will be able to report that passengers were turned away from a stop to help inform operators of busy stops.
2. Reporting efficiencies for Operators and the Government
First Use Check
Automating defect reporting, removing paper, minimising personal interaction and making best use of scarce engineering staffing levels. The driver safety check allows drivers to fill in the safety check, customised for the vehicle type, on the Ticket Machine, and for the faults to be reported in real time, back to the engineering staff, onto the portal or integrated into a third party maintenance package.
CBSSG automated reporting TOOLS
We’ve been working closely with the DfT to speed up the submission and payment of Government Grants. Using brand new functionality to provide distance-based calculations with accurate GPS points, we’ve added extra reporting tools to our system to provide the necessary data for the Covid-19 Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) in super-rapid time.
Meera Nayyar, Head of Passenger Experience, Buses and Taxis, Department for Transport:
“It’s an absolute pleasure to collaborate with the Ticketer Team who are always very responsive. We’ve been delighted with how Ticketer has anonymised and aggregated data to share with the DfT for the public good.”
Hourly and Daily regional and national statistics for the DfT
In partnership with the DfT, we have been anonymising, aggregating and supplying national statistics to enable Government analysis of public transport usage during this Covid-19 pandemic and future predictions for the patterns of patronage, and bus capacity required, within the industry.
Automation for Bus Open Data Service (BODS) reporting
With increased frequency of timetable changes during this time, Ticketer can directly supply data requirements, taking away the pain of manual procedures.
As our CEO, John Clarfelt would put it “fine words butter no parsnips”. The good news is that the vast majority of these developments are available to our Operators now, or at the latest will be introduced within the next few weeks. So, if you feel you could benefit from finding out more, as always, just let our Support Team know or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help.