UK-based Nomad Digital has worked with Danish state railway company DSB to equip 135 S-trains in the Copenhagen region with wireless internet

Nomad Digital, the UK-based transport communications provider, has this summer completed a roll-out of free passenger WiFi and Infotainment systems on-board all 135 of
DSB’s S-trains in Denmark.

The state-owned rail operator decided to equip all metropolitan S-trains in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen with wireless internet after a study revealed that real-time traffic information was the number one request among its daily 220,000 passengers. The survey found that even in the event of trains being delayed, complaints would be minimised and customer satisfaction raised by providing accurate, up-to-the-minute information: on new times of arrival; connecting traffic and service alterations etc.

“A delay is not experienced as problematic, if we help the customer by telling them how they move on from the next station,” said Niklas Marschall of DSB. “Before, we sometimes had announcements contradicting what was displayed on screens. And we’d rather let people know if there’s time to grab a coffee and a Danish (pastry), to make their journey more satisfying.”

The rail operator wanted ultimately to improve the passenger experience and see an increase in passenger numbers, customer satisfaction and loyalty. A share of internet revenues from commercials on Infotainment screens and the onboard internet portal was regarded as a bonus.

Now, DSB not only provides more reliable information via 2,806 screens and displays on its trains, but 90,000 unique users have already logged onto the DSB portal in the last four months to gain free internet access. The portal acts as a direct means for the company to get closer to the customer. As well as providing train information, it also promotes other news, including marketing offers and promotions. For instance, in signing up for the free on-board internet, users automatically opt-in for DSB’s loyalty club and newsletter.

Entertainment is provided in the form of rolling news and commercial entertainment while real-time passenger information provides regular updates on connecting services – including other train and bus companies that operate along the way.

Continuous connectivity via the internet also means that the train operator can constantly monitor its trains. This could, for instance, be used for passenger counting systems, automatically syncing with the passenger announcements – weight measurements taken remotely could be used to alert passengers whether to go to different parts of the train: a red carriage denoting that it’s full; while a green one shows there’s plenty of space left.

Nomad says that this type of real-time monitoring of trains not only improves the operating efficiencies – such as optimising braking systems and reducing maintenance costs and fuel consumption – but also serves to direct passengers to less crowded carriages where there’s more chance of getting a seat during busy rush-hour services. Trains can even be prioritised on account of being fuller – or deemed more important – helping to avoid bottlenecks and minimising overall disruptions to passengers.

The free broadband internet is also clearly something the public appreciates on train journeys. Over 5,000 new users are joining each week, and demand is expected to rise as passengers increasingly seek broadband access for their laptops and smartphones.


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