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Rail travel MOBILE TICKETING


DEVELOPMENTS in smart ticketing could start to happen from next year, as this is being made part of the franchise commitment for West Coast, Great Western and other major contract renewals. But there could be delay due to the urgent review of the franchise system started after the West Coast debacle. One day you will be able to use a mobile device to load tickets, access electronic ticket barriers and have your electronic 'ticket' read by on-board staff. Smartphone apps already allow you to view timetable information, book tickets and check on punctuality, but an app being developed by Evolvi is the first to build in travel policy observance. Thetrainline.com welcomes smart ticketing as good





system seems fundamentally flawed as in any commercial bid, there’s an opportunity to pay more than something is worth.” Capita Business Travel is trying to hold


down costs for its clients by emphasising the total cost of the journey rather than simply the rail fare. It can negotiate upgrades, free wifi and food for standard class passengers, and deals on station parking. Its Interactive Campaign Manager software can issue vouchers electronically and gives the traveller up-to-the-minute information on train punctuality and platform details. CBT's Raj Sachdave,


Pictured: East Coast first class dining; Virgin Fast Ticket


upgrades to first class can be used without compromising our standard class policy. This drives both further savings and environmental sustainability, in line with our own objectives.” The GTMC’s quarterly survey for April to


says, “Most travel policies say the ability to work and be productive on trains is the priority, but they normally allow people to buy and reclaim the cost of extras such as food. The technology we use is unique and helps companies to manage this spending. He continues, “Using rail is still by far the


“ Rail travel is still a challenge on longer routes





June shows rail bookings running 14 per cent ahead of that period in 2011, although down slightly on the first quarter. Carlson Wagonlit Travel does not predict any significant move away from rail travel as fares increase, pointing out that fares rise every year. CWT director of


such as London to Glasgow or Edinburgh


most productive way of getting to or from London and other cities, but rail travel is still a challenge on longer routes such as London to Glasgow or Edinburgh. Enhanced ticketing options would help as people who have the choice of travelling by air are so accustomed to online ticketing and check-in.” One of CBT’s customers is having some


success in switching even longer journeys to rail. Santander’s travel manager, Mark Payne, says, “We recognised the benefit of using Interactive Campaign Manager to move air travellers onto the train for specific journeys, such as Glasgow to London. As well as encouraging travellers to comply with policy by highlighting potential savings, incentives such as free


programme management, Nigel Turner, says, “Increased fares are of greater concern than who runs a franchise, and we encourage


customers to book further in advance or travel off-peak when possible. But with petrol and diesel costs also rising at an alarming rate, the train still wins and it is a more reliable option, with much better productivity. It will be of concern if train operators start cutting back on catering, as this has been a key factor in Virgin’s growth and popularity.” The desirability of booking in advance is


now well understood, and can achieve cost savings even if one sector has to be cancelled and a full fare ticket bought. Evolvi points out that while fares increased by an average of nearly six per cent in 2011, the average value of tickets booked through its system actually fell slightly, to £61. A similar pattern is expected this year. Sales director Jon Reeve says, “The effect


of fare increases can be largely negated. Working space and reliable wifi are


 THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE 65


for the traveller, the TMC and the train operator. Sales and distribution director, Adrian Watts, says, “New franchises are required to implement smart ticketing not just for season tickets, but for all kinds of fares, and we are well placed to implement this. It will allow train operators to manage demand far more effectively because they will have far more data than when a ticket is bought at a station.” Thetrainline.com’s smartphone app has proved highly


successful, but it can’t be used to actually deliver an electronic ticket and has no travel compliance or MI functions. But the app now being trialled by Evolvi does offer travel compliance. Evolvi’s sales director Jon Reeve says: “Evolvi’s core


strengths are ticketing fulfilment, management informa- tion and policy compliance, and an app without policy compliance is not worth having as without it, companies will rapidly lose control of their spending.” Introducing smart ticketing is a huge logistics and


investment challenge for the rail industry, but it is much in demand by corporates who are now used to mobile ticketing for airlines. Plain paper ticketing is also being introduced to ease


reliance on station ticket machines, but at present this can only be used for advance tickets. 'Anytime' tickets are a fraud risk as they could be used more than once. Nicola Spence, of Balfour Beatty WorkSmart, says,


“It would be very good to have e-ticketing in place as rail is stuck in the dark ages with printed bits of card- board which are easily lost. This would make rail travel so much easier.”


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