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CHILTERN RAILWAYS CUSTOMERS TRAVEL "TICKET FREE" WITH NINJA APP PILOT

Even more Chiltern Railways customers are set to travel ‘ticket free’ as part of a market-leading trial of ‘post-pay’ technology which is this week being extended following a successful initial pilot. Chiltern Railways and their technology partner, SilverRail, have confirmed the trial of post-pay technology will be extended to two additional Chiltern stations and be extended until August of this year.

Passengers taking part in the trial use a smartphone app, “ninja”, developed by SilverRail and designed to support seamless travel and an improved customer experience. Passengers simply turn up at the station, board a train and travel without purchasing a ticket first.  At the end of the day the customer is billed the best value, on-the-day fare for the journeys they have made through the ninja app.

Currently, customers on Chiltern’s new Oxford Parkway to London have been able to use ninja for travel between London Marylebone, Oxford Parkway, Islip, Bicester North, Bicester Village station. Now, customers travelling from Haddenham & Thame Parkway and Princes Risborough stations can also participate in the trial.

To use the ninja app, customers first set up an account and add a payment card, then simply present their smartphone to Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled gates, developed by Cubic Transportation Systems when they start and end their journey at gated stations. The gates automatically detect ninja-enabled mobile devices, identify customers on approach and securely interact with the smartphone app to grant seamless passage through the gate.  The system also works at ungated locations, allowing customers to indicate their intent to travel by tapping the ‘start’ button within the app.

The app has been developed through a partnership between Arriva UK Trains company, Chiltern Railways and SilverRail and the project is supported by the RSSB through its Future Railway competition.  Cubic Transportation Systems developed and implement the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) enabled gates.

Personalised, real-time travel updates and real-time train departures are also offered through the app, as well as a history log of completed journeys and prices.

Subject to the results of the trial, Chiltern Railways will consider rolling the technology out across its network.

Dave Penney, Managing Director of Chiltern Railways commented:

This project could set the standard for future ticketing.  Customers want to travel easily with assurance that they have paid the best price; this concept eliminates the need to purchase a ticket, and instead relies on new technologies to understand where customers get on and off their trains.”

As part of the rail industry’s plan to improve journeys, this provides an innovative ticketing solution that allows us to continue to deliver a 21st century customer experience.

Carmel Roche, Head of Mobile at SilverRail said:

We are delighted to work with Chiltern Railways and developing products that improve the travel experience for their customers. We are focused on the interoperability of our products, making them work seamlessly with new and existing rail infrastructure, as well as incorporating emerging standards and technologies, such as ITSO, barcodes or smart card readers. The aim is to enable our partners to create a truly seamless travel experience across the entire UK rail network.

We are particularly excited to see how the resulting data and insight from use of the app can be used to further improve the customer experience for rail travellers.”

John Pickworth at Cubic Transportation Systems said:

Adding Bluetooth capability to station gates will be a big step towards a true hands-free ticketing solution. Not only will it improve customer experience for the ever-increasing number of commuters travelling in-and-out of stations, but it will boost the efficiency of the current infrastructure and maximise revenue opportunities for operators.

 ENDS-

 Media Contacts
Chiltern Railways
Telephone:      +44 20 7333 3018
Email:              press@chilternrailways.co.uk
SilverRail
Jessica Flowers
Telephone:     +44 20 8123 5901
Email:              jessica.flowers@silverrailtech.com
Cubic Transportation Systems
Dominique King/Abs Gandhi
Telephone:           +44 20 7009 3100
Email:                     cubicuk@zenogroup.com

About Chiltern Railways(www.chilternrailways.co.uk)

Chiltern Railways operates services from London Marylebone to destinations in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

Chiltern Railways is part of Arriva plc, the division of Deutsche Bahn AG responsible for regional passenger transport outside of Germany.

Chiltern Railways is one of the most innovative train operators in the UK. Chiltern was also the first train operator in Britain to introduce mobile ticketing and fulfilment through their award-winning app.

About SilverRail Technologies(www.silverrailtech.com)
SilverRail is delivering the digital infrastructure for a global rail industry.

SilverRail’s technology is purpose built for rail. Our product suite spans the full customer experience: journey planning, ground transportation services, inventory management, scheduling, pricing, booking, payment, ticketing, reporting and administration.

  • SilverRail handles more than 1 billion online rail searches each year.
  • SilverRail distributes tickets for more than 35 providers and carriers
  • SilverRail processes more than 30 million bookings each year.
  • SilverRail serves more than 1,500 corporate customers worldwide.

SilverRail was founded in 2009 by Aaron Gowell and Will Phillipson, and has offices in London, Boston, Stockholm and Brisbane.

Expedia Inc, one of the world’s leading travel companies, acquired a majority stake in SilverRail in June 2017.

About Cubic Corporation (www.cubic.com/transportation)

Cubic is a market-leading, technology provider of integrated solutions that increase situational understanding for transportation, defense C4ISR and training customers worldwide to decrease urban congestion and improve the militaries’ effectiveness and operational readiness. Cubic Transportation Systems is a leading integrator of payment and information technology and services to create intelligent travel solutions for transportation authorities and operators. Cubic Mission Solutions provides networked Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities for defense, intelligence, security and commercial missions. Cubic Global Defense is a leading provider of live, virtual, constructive and game-based training solutions, special operations and intelligence for the U.S. and allied forces. For more information about Cubic, please visit the company’s website at www.cubic.com or on Twitter @CubicCorp.

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Virgin Trains

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VIRGIN TRAINS LAUNCH AMAZON ALEXA SKILL SUPPORTED BY SILVERRAIL API

Virgin Trains becomes the first travel company in the world to sell tickets through Amazon Alexa

  • From today, customers with an Amazon Echo device can book Virgin Trains Advance Single tickets via Alexa using the Amazon Pay service
  • Anyone called Alexa travelling on Virgin Trains West Coast routes between 3rd May – 15th June 2018 will also receive a free First Class upgrade

Thursday 3rd May 2018: In a global first, Virgin Trains today becomes the first travel operator worldwide to sell tickets through Amazon Alexa.  With the launch of this innovative collaboration, customers can now book Virgin Trains Advance Single tickets using just their voice, via Alexa-enabled Amazon devices, including Amazon Echo1.

The new functionality enables users to book tickets with Alexa using Amazon Pay in one simple voice-based transaction, making Virgin Trains the first travel company in the world to sell tickets this way. The launch follows the unveiling of the Virgin Trains skill for Amazon Alexa in November last year, which allows customers to enquire about rail information by asking Alexa.

To mark this moment, Virgin Trains on the West Coast is offering free First Class upgrades to any passengers named Alexa travelling on their routes between 3rd May – 15th June 20182.

The skill for Alexa is part of Virgin Trains’ ambition to work in a digital railway and is one of a range of innovations introduced to increase customer satisfaction before and after journeys, as well as on board. This includes industry firsts such as mobile ticketing, automatic compensation for delaysand free on-demand entertainment app BEAM. The Virgin Trains skill for Amazon Alexa is part of a host of digital projects that will offer Virgin Trains passengers the most innovative and forward-looking customer experience, whilst providing a comfortable and smooth journey from beginning to end.

John Sullivan, Virgin Trains CIO said: “We’re very excited to be the first travel company in the world to sell tickets for both Virgin Trains on the East Coast and West Coast through Amazon Alexa; it’s just another example of Virgin Trains leading the way in digital innovation within the rail industry. From finding train times online, to arriving at your destination, we want to make every journey with Virgin Trains amazing, and our collaboration with Amazon is a great example of this commitment to putting the customer first.”

“We’re thrilled to work with Virgin Trains to offer customers a completely new way to buy train tickets,” said Giulio Montemagno, Director, Amazon Pay EU. “With Alexa and Amazon Pay, Virgin Trains customers can now search, select and buy train tickets entirely through voice. This is a first-of-a-kind service that will make it easier than ever to find and book the ticket you want, even when you’re busy doing something else—all you need to do is ask Alexa.”

To celebrate this launch, Facebook fans of Virgin Trains on the West Coast will be in with a chance to bag themselves an Amazon Echo device4. From 3rd to 5th May, Virgin Trains will be sending Alexa to a range of destinations along the West Coast route; fans will be challenged to guess the destination from a series of clues, which will be revealed in three Facebook videos.

Both East Coast and West Coast customers who book train travel via the Virgin Trains skill for Amazon Echo between 3rd May and 23rd May will also be entered into a prize draw to win an all-inclusive Virgin Holiday for four in Antigua5.

Customers can book East and West Coast Advance Single tickets on the Virgin Trains skill for Amazon Alexa. Examples fares include6:

  • London – Edinburgh £42
  • London – York £29
  • London-Birmingham £11
  • London-Manchester £27

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact Chloe Morris at Karmarama:  020 3301 2338 / chloe@kaper.uk.com
Notes to Editors

The Virgin Trains skill for Amazon Echo was created using the SilverRail engine, a market leader in travel technology, to ensure the flow of data into the rail system is consistent and accurate, and the booking reservation is fulfilled.

1Tickets can be purchased on all Virgin Trains West Coast routes and the below Virgin Trains East Coast routes:

  • King’s Cross
  • Newcastle
  • Edinburgh
  • York
  • Darlington
  • Doncaster

2Available on Virgin Trains West Coast routes only. Terms and conditions apply
3Automatic Delay Repay only available on Virgin Trains on the West Coast
4Terms and conditions apply
5Terms and conditions apply
6These are example advance fares, with fares each way between the two destinations and London. Available 12 weeks out.
 
About Virgin Trains

Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the East Coast and West Coast inter-city routes under the Virgin Trains brand. Together, they are on track to revolutionise rail travel across the UK.

The combined network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, York and London.

Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. Customers consistently rate Virgin Trains as one of the top long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) commissioned by industry watchdog, Transport Focus.

On the East Coast route, £140m is being invested to create a more personalised travel experience. We have already invested £21m to completely revamp our existing fleet and customers can now benefit from 42 additional services (22,000 extra seats) per week between Edinburgh and London. 2018 will see the introduction of completely new Azuma trains being built in the UK by Hitachi.

The West Coast route has a proud record of challenging the status quo – from introducing tilting Pendolino trains, to a pioneering automated delay repay scheme and becoming the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types.

Visit the Virgin Trains Media Room – http://mediaroom.virgintrains.co.uk– for the latest news, images and videos. Subscribe here for regular news from Virgin Trains.

Press Office: 0845 000 3333. Company website: www.virgintrains.co.uk.
 
About Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa lives in the cloud and is always getting smarter, delivering new capabilities to your device automatically. The more you use Alexa, the more Alexa adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and preferences, with new features continually being added. Ask Alexa to answer questions, play music, hear the news, get weather and traffic reports, control your smart home, and more.

 
About SilverRail
SilverRailis delivering the digital infrastructure for a global rail industry.

SilverRail’s technology is purpose built for rail. Our product suite spans the full customer experience: journey planning, ground transportation services, inventory management, scheduling, pricing, booking, payment, ticketing, reporting and administration.

  • SilverRail handles more than 1 billion online rail searches each year.
  • SilverRail distributes tickets for more than 35 providers and carriers.
  • SilverRail processes more than 30 million bookings each year.
  • SilverRail serves more than 1,500 corporate customers worldwide.

SilverRail was founded in 2009 by Aaron Gowell and Will Phillipson, and has offices in London, Boston, Stockholm and Brisbane.

Expedia Inc, one of the world’s leading travel companies, acquired a majority stake in SilverRail in June 2017.