It was so great to be back together again at Euro Bus Expo this month. New innovations, fantastic speakers, great buzz, plus lots of fun and games on the Ticketer stand – there was plenty to discover!
Our Head of Commercial, Richard Blackburn-Hughes lets us in on his key takeaways from the event.
WHAT GOT PEOPLE TALKING?
Ticketer Smart Gateway – The hottest topic was definitely the Connected Bus concept, which landed really well with operators. For those with lots of equipment on their buses, having access to the Ticketer Smart Gateway will revolutionise how they coordinate their on-board hardware into an ecosystem of connectivity. It delivers a platform that can enable connection between all equipment on the bus, and with one single SIM can help reduce cost and maintenance overheads. It provides an integrated platform, with the potential to deliver greater value through integrated data, and allows operators to see whether all of the on-bus equipment is working, all in one place. It will also bring together partnerships and open up a world of possibilities.
Linked to that, the opportunities that automating the current occupancy feature through the Ticketer Smart Gateway will bring are phenomenal, from sending the data to websites and apps to fraud detection, and so much more. It will also enable operators to check whether correct tickets are being sold by looking at ticket data alongside CCTV. The Smart Gateway is something we already have working on-bus in the Nordics and is a proven solution. We’re now making it fit for the UK market and getting ready to help operators run their operations more efficiently and improve the passenger experience, making the data available from all on-board equipment in a one-stop-shop.
WHAT INNOVATION EXCITED YOU THE MOST?
Ticketer’s data and analytics package – Talking about the details of our next innovation, we heard how operators were delighted that they will soon be able to get the data insights they need at the ‘click of a button’. Our data and analytics offerings are evolving and will remove the need for operators to wait for data experts to do the data crunching for them. It is simple to use, and anyone in the operation can use it to drill down into the data to get a deep insight into their data – and quickly! With a ‘complete historic view’ for the operator, trends, opportunities and potential improvements can be easily observed. It’s the next big thing coming soon for operators to make the most of their data – keep your eyes peeled!
WHAT WAS THE MOST ASKED QUESTION ON THE TICKETER STAND?
“Are those seagulls actually moving?” (and yes, that’s right, they were!) or ”Please can I have a duck??”
On a more serious note, aside from seagulls and ducks there were a lot of questions asked about our new Ticketer Handheld. It was great to hear from operators currently using our Handheld device how quick and easy they are finding it. Many are now using it to support their operation at busy stops, utilising them alongside their on-bus ETMs as a queue buster to improve speed of boarding.
WHAT WERE YOUR TOP THREE TAKEAWAYS FROM EURO BUS?
1. Innovation is key
For operators to survive and for the industry to be able to continue their recovery following the pandemic, it’s clear that innovation is key. Whether it’s making use of all the available data to ensure better operational efficiencies, removing costs by reducing the number of SIMs on–bus, or looking at the Next Generation ETM – innovation will be transformational. Being part of the Euro Bus Innovation Challenge blew our minds in terms of all the other impressive developments also happening within the industry and we look forward to all working closely together to deliver for our operators
2. Time are tough for operators, and we just want to help
We heard a lot from operators that building back after Covid, and the subsequent challenges with slowly increasing patronage, are making for a difficult time for the industry. It’s clear that times are tough, particularly with driver shortages and delays in available funding. We want to be able to support our operators as best we can to manage their businesses effectively in these challenging times.
3. Tap off readers help increase patronage
It was great to hear how passenger take up of Tap On / Tap Off contactless is growing at an astounding rate and improving the passenger experience. In some cases, operators are seeing that passengers are happy to pay a little more than they would compared to committing to a particular ticket upfront. The flexibility for passengers, the reduction of cash handled on–bus and quicker boarding times are helping increase patronage and having a transformational impact for our operators.
AND FINALLY, WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE TICKETER STAND?
It was my first time at the Euro Bus Expo, and I wasn’t disappointed! It was amazing for me to meet some more of our customer base and to be able to see eve
ryone in person after Covid. I loved that we could offer a warm and welcoming stand presence with lots of interactive games, including hook a duck, Zoltar the fortune teller and a ‘strike it high’ tower! It was such a lovely space to catch up with our friends across the industry. Our nostalgic seaside theme was the perfect way to have some fun and yummy popcorn, while celebrating the classic British seaside at its best!
Coach & Bus UK takes place next year 8-9 November at the NEC, Birmingham. We’ll be there to spread some cheer with more fun, games and great technology.