The three-month trial of a smartcard ‘ticket at home’ system has exceeded expectations, and Merseytravel aim to be developing the system in conjunction with the full roll-out of their Walrus smartcard next year.
The system allows customers to download transport tickets on to their smartcard instantly through a reader attached to their PC.
“Response to the Remote Ticket Download (RTD) trial has been overwhelmingly positive, we can see many benefits, not just for the individual customers, but for the travelling public as a whole – reducing queuing, for example,” said Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel.
Traditionally, smartcard systems require the user to go to a top-up point such as a ticket vending machine or manned kiosk to top up their smartcard, or to purchase smart tickets online and collect them at a rail gate or bus usually 24 hours later.
Merseytravel saw the benefits of an ITSO smartcard solution which allowed the end user to directly download smartcard products securely.
The technical solution known as ITSO Part 11 Remote POST was an addition to the ITSO specification in 2012 and its implementation represents a UK first for Merseytravel and Rambus Ecebs.
The trial consists of two products – Pay As You Go (PAYG) for bus and Rail Pass for rail. Merseytravel operators Abellio are also active partners in the trail.
Mel Pashley, Strategic Account Director at Rambus Ecebs, commented: “RTD is Rambus Ecebs ITSO-certified delivery mechanism for the Merseytravel Walrus pilot. This is the first time that anyone has been able to provide ‘ITSO in the cloud’ in a commercial environment and we are delighted with the response to the trial and also with the vision of Merseytravel and Abellio to bring this to the market.”
Mike Walker, one of the fifty people across Merseyside taking part in the trial said: “For me the Walrus card is fantastic, the convenience of paying for it in advance, online from home really helps and saves having to queue up at the station in the morning.
“It’s great, you just present your card at the turnstile and walk straight through you don’t even have to take it out of your wallet, which reduces the chance of losing it too!”
The RTD trial was timed to link with Merseytravel’s Walrus Rewards programme.
The rewards programme based on customer research, aims to ‘add value’ to the Walrus card, encouraging the city region’s travelling public to engage with it as a brand and to use the card in ways that meet the objectives of the smartcard implementation project:
• To track spend and usage.
• To use data to drive engagement with different customer segments.
• Customer Journey mapping.
• To incentivise and reward touch technology usage.
After listening to customer feedback and subsequently creating and extensive communication and reward strategy, Sarah Cross, Managing Director of Uber, is looking forward to hearing from the participants:
“The trial marks the start of an exciting time for the people of Merseyside and we can’t wait to hear how users find the whole experience. We’ve worked hard on personalisation to find rewards that will really appeal to both residents and visitors of the city and we’re looking forward to offering even more exciting rewards as the Walrus evolves.”
Helen Mitchell, Merseytravel’s Head of Smart and Integrated Ticketing, added: “Benefits of the RTD solution will not only be used for travelling customers but our extensive retail network will be able to use the solution. We are already looking forward to how this solution can be rolled out, in our forthcoming school transport trial.”