Coach & Bus Week Feature: Data-Driven

9 May 2023

We recently met with Coach & Bus Week (CBW) to chat about data: from our Connected Bus concept, to our Ticketer Insights Hub, and what’s next after Tap Off Readers.

You can read the feature below, or visit Coach & Bus Week for the full article.


Ticketer’s Head of Product, Jason Mann, caught up with Coach & Bus Week (CBW) at the ALBUM conference recently about Ticketer’s latest product, the Ticketer Insights Hub, which helps operators understand the masses of data available to them.

Speaking at the ALBUM conference in Edinburgh, Ticketer’s Head of Product Jason Mann was keen to demonstrate the company’s latest product, which has been designed to address an issue which many operators are facing: data overload. As technology has become an ever more integral part of bus and coach operation, be it technical, ticketing or operational, companies have increasing amounts of it available at their fingertips, but can often find there’s just too much, or it’s not easy to read or correlate. “One of the products we’re showing here at ALBUM is the Ticketer Insights Hub,” Jason explained. “From our perspective, we’ve always had lots of data. We’ve always been able to collect data about tickets, passenger numbers, bus locations, and all manner of useful data like that. We can create all kinds of reports, but they are static which can be very dry and it’s hard to really get a feel and an understanding of what that data is telling you.”

“You can see the number of tickets sold or the revenue, but you can’t easily see patterns. The Ticketer Insights Hub is all about giving operators the ability to visualise that data in a much more interactive and visual way. You can start to navigate through the data and drill down into it. We’ve added this new capability, which can give different views so we can show passenger boardings in a much richer way,” he explained.

“You can zero in on a particular point. Operators can look at certain things, find patterns and then better understand their network. With Tap On / Tap Off, we can see where operators are getting on and where they are getting off, for example. That data is gold dust, it’s useful to see what each passenger is doing. And you can start to see where passengers are making two trips as part of a journey. If you see that lots of times, you can start to consider a direct route. That kind of additional data is something we can show to operators to help them understand their network and their patronage. That’s what operators need and want, but it has always been hard to get. This will unlock that.”

Tap on / Tap Off growth

Looking at the wider context, Tap On / Tap Off is a rapidly growing segment of the ticketing market just now. “When we first introduced our Tap Off Readers, this was introducing a new way for passengers to travel by bus because tapping out as you leave the bus was new for the UK. What we’re seeing now is an increasing trend in deploying it, and across multiple operators. Passengers benefit, and the data can be shared. Especially since Covid-19, commuting habits have changed. People are no longer in the office five days per week. Suddenly, weekly tickets are not that viable.”

“When you use Tap On / Tap Off that’s better for the passenger as they no longer need to worry about whether they need to buy a day or weekly ticket. They get the best value for their journeys. I think there will be a lot more of that coming. There are more operators that will start to use Tap On / Tap Off as a result of that shift in travel habits. And everyone benefits, because with the data this now gives operators they can really understand customer travel patterns, not just where they are getting on, but where they are going to.”

The Connected Bus

“We’re also talking to operators about our connected bus concept. You can start to integrate more and more of the bus systems with the ticket machine. The sum of the whole becomes more than the individual parts. If we can integrate remote systems, then we can start to do some really clever things with it. I think we’ll see more of that happen over this next period as operators see the value in joining up systems.”

Although Ticketer is operator-led, there’s no doubt that the trends behind what operators need are passenger-led. “We listen to operators. We work in partnership, it’s not a customer-supplier relationship. We don’t do what we think operators need, we’d rather listen to them, find out what the pain-points are, and come up with a solution.”

“Because we work with so many operators around the UK, we understand what’s happening. As a supplier, we know our product but we don’t run the buses. You have to listen to the people who are running them, they’re the ones with the day-in, day-out problems. Our job is to give them solutions to help their business thrive.”

What next?

What next, I asked; is there already something in the pipeline to follow Tap On / Tap Off? “When we started, it was very much still about cash. We introduced contactless and QR codes, and now they are mainstream. We have always said we don’t want the ticketing infrastructure to be the limitation. We want to make sure that operators can do what they want to do. The equipment shouldn’t limit that.”

“I don’t know what will come next, that’s the $64,000 question. There’s talk about biometrics and facial recognition. We’re a good few years away from that yet. But it is all about making it more frictionless for passengers. For now, we need to get Account Based Ticketing out there into the mainstream as it’s still very patchy at the minute. It will happen, and from that point we can look and see what comes next. Whatever shape or form it takes, it’s about making taking the bus as easy as possible.”

“It’s amazing how far it has come. Not long ago, it was just about tickets. Now you have smartphones and apps and data, it’s such a rich time for new technologies in the industry, probably more than any other time in the past. It will be interesting to see where it will go next.”

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 'RSOCO 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

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