Ticketer and Go-Ahead Group: The People who Love Buses

28 July 2023

We recently caught up with Kanwar Brar, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Go-Ahead Group, on the importance of collaboration. Kanwar talks about advancements in contactless payments, innovation, the evolution of the customer experience and ‘the people who love buses’.

 

when did your partnership with ticketer begin?

I have been in the transport industry for the last fifteen years, and eight of those have been at Go-Ahead Group. I came across Ticketer probably around seven years ago when we started to look at how we implement EMV contactless payments on our on-bus retail. Ticketer at that time had the right product, and we implemented Ticketer Electronic Ticket Machines (ETMs) on our buses and worked with the team to develop the product further for our customer needs.

What challenges did you face?

In public transport you would have traditionally seen people paying on bus with cash, which would mean printing tickets. The customer needed to know where they wanted to go, pay the right amount, and would have to deal with the change from the driver. So, we wanted to remove friction from our customers’ journeys.

One of the challenges was to understand how we enable a good customer experience, where passengers can tap on and tap off on our buses with contactless cards, without worrying about which destination they need to go to and know that they are paying the right amount for the right ticket. By solving this challenge, it meant we could calculate their fare based on their journey patterns with the right pricing for our customers. We could remove friction from a driver perspective as well, as the driver wouldn’t have to deal with unnecessary cash that customers were paying with.

how has ticketer helped you across your entire network?

Outside London we’ve got roughly ten big operations from cities like Newcastle to Brighton, Oxford, and we’ve got services in rural areas, Cornwall and East Anglia. So, all together in the Go-Ahead Group, every day we roughly serve four million customer journeys, most of those are actually made on our buses. That’s the scale we’re talking about.

Ticketer were very forward looking when it came to changing the business model that they had with serving smaller operators. When we started to work with Ticketer, we saw their amazing journey from a growing technology provider to working with Go-Ahead Group and scaling up to the level that we wanted to serve our operation and customers with.

how important is collaboration?

Collaboration is one of our key business values at Go-Ahead Group, as well as transparency. We make sure that we have open and honest conversation with our technology partners and collaborate to deliver industry leading, fast innovations for our customers. So, it was amazing to see that the Ticketer team played really well in that space and collaborated with us at all levels within my organisation to deliver the right solution for us. Which is still, after seven years, adding value. And we’re looking forward to developing and delivering more things with Ticketer in the coming years – watch this space!

how has ticketer helped your customer experience?

We started with the Electronic Ticket Machine replacement project with Ticketer on day one. Since then, we’ve added new functionalities and new features year-on-year, which again enable us to remove friction for our customers. For example, initially we started with customers getting onto our buses by tapping their card on the ETMs and we would sell them tickets. But the concept of selling tickets has gone now. Customers don’t need to worry about buying a ticket anymore, they can simply Tap On / Tap Off on the readers and we calculate the right fare for customers in the back office. Ticketer have played a big part in us delivering that customer experience.

how important is data in helping you manage your operations?

Data is very important for our operation. Data to understand how we are operating buses. Are they running on time? Are they late? And similarly, how do we provide that data to our customers to make sure that the journey they’re travelling on is personalised. For example, if we know the bus is busy, we should really be passing on the data to our customers in real-time. If we know that we have a disruption on a route, we pass on that disruption message. We have been working with Ticketer over the last few years to develop that proposition further. I have seen some of the innovation that Ticketer are working on in the whole data analytics space with the Ticketer Insights Hub, and I look forward to benefiting from it.

talk to us about your relationship with ticketer

I’m actually very proud of the partnership that we’ve formed with Ticketer. It’s one of the unique ones. We’ve trusted Ticketer and brought them into our world knowing that they would do the right job, and at end of the day as they say, “people deliver stuff”. And I believe in Ticketer’s team, where it’s the people who love buses and know public transport trying to deliver the right solution for us to deliver better public transport out there for our customers. So, I’m really proud that this partnership has worked the way we had imagined from day one, and it delivered the benefits for us as a business, and for our customers, the innovation that they need.

Some of the things we have won

WINNER OF ‘BEST BUSINESS INNOVATION’ AND SHORTLISTED FOR ‘EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR’ AT THE NEWBURY WEEKLY NEWS BEST BUSINESS AWARDS, 2023

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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