Project Description

In 2014, National Express came to us with a clear brief: they needed to offer reliable, secure and real-time ticket sales on board their coaches, covering the entire national road network. The project was to modernise National Express’ ticket sales technology, and play a crucial role in reducing service delays by streamlining customer ticket sales and seat allocation process.

As an additional challenge, we were also tasked with closing an important gap on ticket security. Drivers up until this point had been unable to scan tickets on boarding, therefore leaving the company vulnerable to ticket fraud.

National Express needed something fast, the first pilot was to be rolled out during the summer’s Glastonbury festival, whereby festival-goers would, for the first time, be able to purchase their tickets onboard and National Express would have full control and visibility of sales, passenger numbers and boarding.

 

The solution

ECR’s TicketPoS solution has presented itself as the ideal answer to both challenges. Fully PCI compliant and running on the Go2 all-in-one handheld terminal, drivers can board passengers, quickly sell tickets for any given route or destination, and accept payment by the passenger’s preferred means – including contactless and mobile wallet.

The terminals are cleverly mounted with no visible wiring, the main terminal being driver-facing, with the PED passenger side, ready to take payments at the touch of a button. 4G and wifi connectivity ensure that the terminal is always in contact with head office, even when on the move, which means that passenger loadings, bookings and messaging are constantly delivered to the terminal. As a result, no seat can be double booked, and drivers can board passengers with confidence.

When selling, a large 5” touchscreen displays available routes, destinations and ticket types, for the fastest and most streamlined selling experience. Tickets are printed using the in-built printer, and the device also features a 2D scanner for barcodes and QR coded tickets.

Travel tickets are validated through the TicketPoS application using a QR code embedded in the ticket. Each ticket is scanned on boarding then the information is quickly decoded to ensure it is valid and has not been tampered with. This detail is checked against a list of valid tickets, downloaded to the device at the start of day. Any relevant information or potential issue is flagged immediately to the operator.

Scanning also looks up the ticket number, from stop to stop, as well as the expected number of passengers for each leg of the journey, from data on the main server. This enables drivers to sell tickets for unused seats at any given point on the route, maximising revenue for National Express.

Benefits

  • Tickets can be printed from the same device that is used to process card, mobile wallet and cash payments
  • QR Coded tickets sent via email following online bookings can be scanned and validated using the built-in scanner and 4G connectivity
  • The on-board software is easy to use and intuitive, with screens designed together with National Express head office
  • The on-board software is intuitive and requires little training for the growing number of users
  • With complete visibility of every transaction made, National Express can profile each route, including precise sales and boarding locations, ensuring that the maximum number of seats are filled on each vehicle throughout its journey
  • The sales process is reliable, quick and easy to perform, taking as little time as possible for drivers

Results

The ticketing solution is rolling out across National Express’ entire  network, including its third-party operators and airport services. The programme has transformed the sales process, providing greater head office sales transparency and reducing fraudulent ticket usage.

Boarding times are reduced and passengers can buy last minute tickets using payment methods of their choice.