CHILTERN RAILWAYS CUSTOMERS TRAVEL "TICKET FREE" WITH NINJA APP PILOT
Written by Frederic Kalinke
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.”
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Cubic Transportation Systems
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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.