Reading Transport took a different route to ticket vending and validation last year when it installed a solution from newcomers Ticketer on its vehicles.

Ticketer claims to offer the bus industry’s most innovative and cost-effective ticketing solution. Its system seeks to improve the average bus company’s bottom line by delivering advanced features that allow managers to run their business with maximum flexibility and without the need for expensive support.

It says that its modular solution is very competitively priced, yet delivers the following features, and more:

  • GPRS solution delivers real-time Back Office Management and Reporting;
  • Centralised Software as a Service (SaaS) approach eliminates the need for any IT or depot infrastructure;
  • Web-based management and reporting can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection (including smartphones and tablets); and
  • Easy-to-configure and easy-to-use back office functionality significantly reduces operational and reporting administration – tickets can be customised quickly and easily, and at no cost to the operator (see panel);
  • Integrated GPS with a real-time tracking interface and proven SIRI server-to-server interface delivers real time information to multiple users, including local authority RTI systems;
  • Simple export facility allows easy integration with key industry software packages;
  • Two-way driver messaging increases operational efficiency; and
  • ITSO certified, with an innovative, and remarkably simplified, approach to smartcard scheme management

Reading Transport successfully rolled out its new Ticketer ticketing system, replacing the previous Wayfarer TGX 150 machines, over a weekend in March 2011. This followed extensive trials that began the previous October and extended to a number of services, including the Reading to Newbury service.

A total of 150 machines have been installed at Reading, of which more than 120 were mounted on buses and commissioned during the changeover weekend.

In a meticulously planned operation, fitting began as soon as buses started rolling back into the depot after the Friday evening peak.

Reading CEO James Freeman says that the run-out on the Monday morning was remarkable. “We had previously run a six-week long, comprehensive campaign to train staff and had gone to great lengths to alert customers, and with almost 13,000 smartcards in circulation alone, this was no small task.”

“The staff were incredibly positive and were keen to get accustomed to the new machines, which are easy to use and a considerable improvement on the old kit,” says Freeman.

“A big advantage is that we are now 100% ITSO compliant – we can read all the concessionary passes that are presented rather than depending on drivers seeing and recording passes.

“We also launched a significant number of ITSO commercial cards including zonal period passes, our EasySaver 10 trip card and our EasyCash product.”

He adds: “We have continued to evolve new and exciting products to augment the tickets we initially had on offer.”

Ticketer have subsequently built on their performance at Reading Transport, successfully delivering similar “smart” solutions to a growing list of operators, including Ipswich Buses within seven weeks of order, and to multiple operators under the SWSAL framework, and the Yorcard and NESTI Tenders.

“Over the past year we have constantly been adding new features and upgraded functionality, but focused on the ticketing side. This year sees some of our more exciting developments coming to the fore – the first of which is our online driver messaging, with schedule adherence and more shortly following. These are very exciting times for Ticketer – watch this space,” says Ticketer’s John Clarfelt.

A year on and are Reading Transport pleased that they made the bold move?

“Absolutely,” says James. “Our relationship with Ticketer has remained strong throughout the year, co-operating as partners rather than a typical supplier-customer relationship. Ticketer have released numerous updates throughout that year, some with features we have requested and some with features that have come from their other customers, but we have gladly accepted them. And all at no extra cost. That’s something you don’t hear everyday.”

 

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