Transport Ticketing Global: Innovations & The Inside Scoop

19 February 2024

Only a couple of weeks to go until one of the most exciting events in the bus industry’s annual calendar – Transport Ticketing Global.

And with speaker slots and new solutions aplenty at London Olympia on the 5 – 6 March, we chatted to Richard Blackburn-Hughes, Chief Commercial Officer, and Jason Mann, Director of Product, on what “innovation” means to Ticketer, as well as the latest innovations we’ll be showcasing at the event.



Hailing back to our humble beginnings in a kitchen in Barnes in 2009, Ticketer was born simply because we spotted a way to make things easier for the public transport industry. And that mantra of improving and simplifying public transport for authorities, operators and passengers has been the driving force behind our mission of continually enhancing and delivering new solutions.

“We’ve created a culture where we work closely with our customers and they’re always happy to tell us what they need, or what they would like to do if they could. We have a lot of two-way conversations which means we’re able to understand their pressures and allows us to create the right solutions for them. It also helps that as a frequent bus passenger myself, I can see where things could be improved for both my fellow bus users and drivers too, for these to be realised in our solutions.” says Jason Mann, Director of Product.

“And those solutions don’t just relate to ticketing. That’s why we coined the phrase “more than just ticketing” several years ago, as when Ticketer originally started we only did ticketing and on-bus equipment. We’ve very quickly moved beyond that and now ticketing is actually only a small part of our overall solution.

Our customers use our solutions every day for a wide range of things. For example, to track their vehicles in real-time. To report on timetable compliance. To carry out daily walk-round checks with our Vehicle Checklist functionality. Our solutions even help buses get back on schedule with our solution supporting many bus Traffic Light Priority schemes around the UK. Our ETMs keep drivers in touch with the control rooms via our Driver Messaging feature. And as well as all that, we also support issuing tickets via smartcard, contactless, QR codes and cash. So, you could definitely say our solution has outgrown our name!”


“Our solutions are all created because of our constant need to innovate in the public transport space. But innovation doesn’t always mean delivering new products. Making changes to existing solutions can be just as effective.

Take Road Restrictions Alerts (RRA) that we will be showcasing at TTG”, says Jason, “It’s a relatively new feature that we launched during Covid, when driver shortages meant that many drivers were either in unfamiliar areas or maybe driving a vehicle they wouldn’t normally drive, increasing the chance of a bus accidentally heading down a road that was unsafe due to a possibility of low bridges, or other height and width limitations.

Talking with customers since its launch and really hearing their feedback on how drivers can encounter all manner of restrictions on their routes that aren’t always to do with width and height, we extended this further at the end of last year to allow operators to set various types of hazard and other navigational restrictions on the system.

And with good timing. The recent winter months saw many storms hitting the UK which would have normally made things tricky for operators. With enhanced RRA, operators have been able to set restrictions for things like fallen trees or flooded roads to alert the driver and avoid any inconvenience.

The other benefit this solution provides is that this is available on every vehicle. Many other low-bridge detection solutions may only be installed on susceptible vehicles, e.g. double-deckers. But these other restrictions can apply to any vehicle type of course, so operators are seeing the benefit of this solution across their fleets.”

Jason continues that it’s not the only innovative evolution of late, having recently extended Ticketer’s back-office system to support both operators and authorities who may be moving to franchising.

“We’ve also done a lot of development to our existing Ticketer Portal that will be on show at TTG, with two ends of the spectrum that we wanted to support in equal measure: the franchise owner and the participating operators.

Both the transport authority and operators need access to the same data. They need to be able to see and track their vehicles in the same way. They need the same tools to manage their buses, fares, and timetables.

That’s why in our work with Transport for Greater Manchester, we were certain we didn’t want to create a separate system to support their franchise model. What was needed was the same system that supports a single operator being extended to support multiple operators.

We’ve found that by extending our existing solution, we’ve been able to really support operators by minimising disruption, given in some instances it’s a system they were already familiar with pre-franchising, so it’s one less thing for them to think about as they embark on this new journey.

And for the transport authority, it’s an established solution. We’re not reinventing the wheel; we’re giving them access to an existing solution that is already supporting hundreds of operators which we’ve extended to meet their needs, through creating a hierarchal multi-operator view which only they’re able to see.

Whilst this multi-operator solution hasn’t existed before, it’s a bit of an oxymoron because it’s a first of its kind but is also completely tried and tested, as it’s still part of the established Ticketer back office. Local authorities therefore know it’s going to get the job done and with our established infrastructure, training and support, it’s something they can quickly get up and running.

The other benefit of course, is that any extensions that we add for operators can also be utilised for transport authorities running a franchise model, and vice versa, so everyone benefits with this approach.”

This multi-operator view within the Ticketer Portal isn’t just reserved for franchising says Jason: “We have plenty of customers who work with or own other partner operations. With this extension of the Ticketer Portal, we can actually roll this out to those customers who are responsible for various partners, but who still want to maintain data separation where necessary.

As such, this particular innovation already has the possibility to help a wider variety of customers and drive value managing their day-to-day tasks.”


As technology has evolved, so too have demands increased on bus hardware. When looking to find new ways to create value, we decided it was time to enhance our hardworking Ticketer ETM, used on thousands of buses daily and launched over ten years ago, to improve the overall driver and passenger experience.

Also on show at TTG is the Ticketer Next Generation ETM, delivering the best of both worlds by merging all of the helpful functionality of the old ETM with technological advancements across interface, card read speed, and screen.

Richard Blackburn-Hughes, Chief Commercial Officer, comments “With the Next Generation ETM, we evolved our standard ETM and brought it into a new era with all the technological progress that’s taken place since our last design.

We listened to feedback from customers and therefore made the most visible change of moving to an 8″ Android tablet for the driver console, which comes with a capacitive touch screen for a more intuitive and advanced interaction for the driver. We’ve also made performance enhancements across memory and card read speed, so we’ve tried to address pain points and latent needs with our enhancements – both the needs of our customer’s workforce as well as that of their passengers.

For us, it’s all in the detail as these things can make a really big difference to the day-to-day interaction with our hardware and overall customer experience. We took on board feedback from our customers around how they’re using our ETMs and by making those performance improvements, we’re getting some strong feedback from their drivers.

They’re enjoying it as it’s quicker and easier to use and when totted up, this contributes to the likes of dwell time, punctuality, and happier passengers, so these are the things we absolutely strive to enhance and innovate upon.

Our customers are also happy that it comes with the same general configuration as our previous model, so driver retraining isn’t required. Plus, customers don’t need to replace their entire machine to upgrade onto the Next Gen ETM. We’ve created modular upgrade paths specifically so they can benefit from getting the latest functionality by only updating the parts they need.”


If you, like us, are super excited about TTG and want a further demo, (or general chat over coffee, we’re always partial to one) about the innovations mentioned above that we’ll be showcasing, then pop by stand F30 and we’ll be more than happy to give you the full tour.

If you’ve not yet booked your spot, you can do so here.

We also hope to see you at our speaker slots below:

Tues, 05 March, 12:00 – 12:20: Andreea Reardon, Chief Technology Officer

Speaker Slot: Local Authority Spotlight: Delivering Consolidated Transport Innovation

Tues 05 March, 14:20 – 15:00: Jason Mann, Director of Product

Panel Discussion: Fare Strategies and their Role in Public Transit Adoption Rates


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

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