BUSES Feature: Not Just an ETM Supplier

15 June 2023

Ticketer Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Andy Monshaw, recently explained to BUSES how we’re more than just an Electronic Ticket Machine (ETM) supplier; we’re making life easier for operators and their customers.

You can read the feature below, or visit BUSES for the full article.

No company has had more of an impact on the bus industry’s approach to ticketing over the past 14 years than Ticketer and its founder, John Clarfelt.

Andy Monshaw - Ticketer“What John did back in 2009 was bring the first cloud-based ticketing system to the UK,” said Group Chief Executive Officer, Andy Monshaw. “It was really very new, and a lot of people didn’t understand how far ahead he was looking.”

“What the iPhone did for revolutionising communications, Ticketer did for the bus market,” he added. “It’s amazing when you look back on what has been accomplished.”

Cloud-based ticketing has given operators of every size a level of real-time visibility and control of all the services on their network that they never experienced previously. It has transformed fleet management, provided passengers with better travel information, and driven operational efficiencies.

Best of all, it has helped operators encourage people to use buses, and continues to do so. “Ticketer is a lot more than just an ETM supplier,” said Monshaw.

not just an etm supplier

Ticketer’s ETMs are of course remarkably sophisticated.

Not only can they handle multiple means of fare payment including the use of contactless EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) cards, mTicketing using a smartphone app as the payment medium, and even smart wearable devices. They also enable operators to track their buses, monitor Schedule Adherence, and communicate with their drivers.

They can help ensure that drivers carry out their daily vehicle checks, capture and transmit those finding to the engineering systems so they can be acted on. Using up-to-date technology to carry out first-use checks does away with clipboards and scruffy sheets of paper that may get lost or be illegible.

Being able to keep tabs on vehicles and monitor the route they are on can reduce the risk of a bus colliding with a low bridge with Road Restriction Alerts.

The ability of Ticketer’s GPS-equipped ETMs to report their location regularly by means of an always-on data connection to the Ticketer back office allows them to feed into a strategic Traffic Light Priority platform if one is in place. This means that a traffic light priority can be requested through a central urban traffic management control, enabling speedier journeys and making bus travel more appealing.

The web-based Ticketer Portal allows them to manage all their data from anywhere with an internet connection, creating and updating fares and updating ETMs instantly over standard mobile networks. Ticket sales can be viewed and the technology the company offers even makes it easier for operators in England to comply with their BODS (Bus Open Data Service) obligations.

tap off readers and fares innovation

TOTOTap-On/Tap-Off – allows passengers to travel on buses as much as they please while ensuring they never pay more than the daily or weekly cap. They never need to worry about what ticket to buy, or if they have change.

Ticketer First BusBoarding times are speeded up and the Tap Off Reader technology means that operators now have more information than ever about peoples’ travel habits and their demands for services; data that will aid the company’s future decision-making.

This enables the implementation of Account Based Ticketing (ABT), which looks set to be the next step in passenger ticketing.

By charging travellers for the trips they have made rather than the trips they think they will make, then potentially capping the fare paid, ABT offers new levels of flexible ticketing for both operators and passengers. The savings that can be made should appeal to consumers.

Ticketer has been instrumental in TOTO’s recent roll-out across First Bus’s 4,000-plus UK fleet. First Bus is the first major British bus operator to achieve a full TOTO roll-out. At the time of writing TOTO accounted for 40% of First Bus adult trips in Bath and 31% in Bristol.

First Bus has provided 58% of the funding for the project with the balance coming from local transport authority partnerships. Partners include City of York Council, Leicester City Council, Norfolk County Council and the West of England Combined Authority.

The partnership between Ticketer and First Bus has also led to TOTO being piloted in Bridgend in South Wales, where fares were calculated based on the distance travelled by each passenger in a UK first.

Elsewhere, Go-Ahead’s Oxford Bus has worked with Ticketer to deploy TOTO on some 260 buses operated by Oxford Bus Company, Carousel Buses and Thames Travel. Overall boarding times have fallen by 70% as a result.

keeping the uk moving

“Outside of London we’re working with more than 500 operators who run 25,000 buses between them,” Monshaw said.

Ticketer embraces 4.4m passenger trips a day across the UK as well as 36.6m daily GPS positions. Alongside its successes with First Bus and Oxford Bus, Ticketer has also been awarded a major contract by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

It is to supply an integrated ticketing and real-time information solution for the bus franchising initiative TfGM is introducing under the Bee Network banner. Bus services across Greater Manchester will start to be brought under local control from September 2023.

Ticketer’s ETMs will initially be rolled out for the first franchised services coming into operation in Wigan, Bolton and parts of Salford and Bury together with pole-mounted readers which will allow travellers to pay using contactless cards.

Buses will be fitted with automatic vehicle location equipment including improved GPS tracking, allowing TfGM to provide passengers with accurate up-to-date travel information. They will see it on digital journey planners and on displays at bus stations and interchanges.

All the technology involved will undergoing rigorous testing prior to the September launch date.

“The TfGM contract validates the strategy Ticketer has been pursuing, and will usher in the next generation of offerings” said Monshaw.

It is a strategy that, rather like the iPhone, has involved the introduction of new features every year; features that are very much customer-driven, Monshaw stresses. “Each one builds on the previous one,” he observed.

“For example, our customers told us that they wanted a full end-to-end mobile ticketing system to include the ability to read QR codes,” he recalled. “From there we went on to provide the ability to read multi-operator QR codes, so the passenger doesn’t need to wait for a specific operator or bus.”

Ticketer went on to do all it could to ensure that the QR codes could not be used fraudulently.

“Then we looked at the use of Apple Pay as an alternative to cards,” he said. “Talking about cards, we’re working on deploying additional credit card and other token payment options in future releases.”

the future

With a tech background, Monshaw joined Ticketer in October 2020.

“I spoke to 200 Ticketer customers in my first year, and it became clear to me that they wanted better access to their data and a clearer idea of what it was telling them,” he observed. “Of the more than 500 clients we have however, I suspect that only a dozen employ dedicated IT staff with experience in data analytics.”

As a consequence Ticketer has decided to analyse their data for them with its newly-developed Ticketer Insights Hub. It was soon to go on trial with ten clients for two months at the time of writing.

“They also want to look at data over longer periods; over a year, for instance,” he added. “They want to look at performance by driver, by route and by ticket type – all of which will be unlocked with the Ticketer Insights Hub.”

“Around half of our customers now use TOTO. The data TOTO generates can tell operators the size of bus that is required to operate a route efficiently,” Monshaw continued. “It also tells them a lot about the journey patterns of travellers and the routes that might work for them.”

“If for example a lot of them begin their journey at point A, want to get to point C, and change buses at point B, then it might make sense to run a direct route from A to C.”

Information on the level of bus occupancy is often essential, and that is something Ticketer can deliver with this deep dive into data.

Other future Ticketer releases will include deploying the latest GNSS technology for enhanced GPS which will enable customers to enjoy even more accurate information. A further aim is to provide operators with more help when it comes to determining which of their routes are profitable; and which are not

a team effort

This year’s Transport Ticketing Awards event saw Ticketer highly-commended in the Ticketing Technology of the Year category for launching Tap Off Readers. And in recognition of Ticketer’s outstanding achievement since 2009, John Clarfelt was accorded the Industry Contributor accolade.

On accepting the award, he said: “I am hugely humbled and appreciative to have won it. I am lucky enough to have one of the best jobs in the industry, namely that I get to visit our customers.”

“What makes me even prouder is the continued friendship and respect there is for Ticketer from both operators and transport authorities,” he continued.

“That is down to so many contributions from so many of Ticketer’s employees. I am in awe of them; and so very grateful.”

Some of the things we have won


Received 'Most Innovative Public Transport Technology 2022' award, by the UK Transport Awards.

Winners of the 2022 Euro Bus Expo Innovation Challenge Bronze Award.

Winners of the 'ROSCO Silver Award for Contribution to Safer Driving' 2022

Profit Track 100 2021

Ranked in The Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100, acknowledging the impressive performance and contributions of the featured companies to the economy and society during the pandemic

Transport Ticketing

Winner of the Transport Ticketing Awards 2021 'Digital Champion' Category

Ticketer Award Megabuyte

Listed as 3rd in the Megabuyte Emerging Stars Awards which recognise the top 25 best-performing scale-up Companies of the Year in the UK, for industry-specific software

Ones to Watch award

Named as “One to Watch” in the European Business Awards

Ticketer Award Thames Valley

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year & High Growth Business of the Year

Gold Winner of the Coach and Bus Innovation Challenge 2019 for our passenger app Kazoot

Read more on our press page

Join the Ticketer journey

Let's go!