Chiltern Railways has announced that travel technology company SilverRail Technologies will be its partner in the development and pilot of a new approach to rail travel removing the need to buy and carry a ticket on the day – 'ticket free travel'.
Chiltern Railways, an Arriva UK Trains company, conceived the idea in 2015 as part of a long term focus on improving the customer experience with the aim of making travelling as simple and frictionless as possible. Arriva UK Trains submitted a proposal through the RSSB Future Railway competition and was awarded funding for six projects of which this pilot scheme is one.
This partnership between SilverRail and the train operator will allow passengers to use their smartphones to detect commencement of travel and use Bluetooth to open ticket gates, automatically charging the customer the best price for their journey at the end of the day. At ungated stations geolocation tools are used to locate the customer and the trains travelled on.
Dave Penney, Managing Director of Chiltern Railways commented: “Customers want to travel easily with assurance that they have paid the best price; this app-based concept eliminates the need to purchase a ticket instead using Bluetooth and geolocation tracking to determine journeys taken charging the best value fare at the end of the day. We chose to work with SilverRail as they share our drive for innovation and are an incredibly agile and innovative, rail focused organisation with a wide range of experience.”
In addition to the new way of paying for travel, the app will also offer personalised, real-time travel updates, commuter advice and multi-modal journey options. “Our goal is to remove uncertainty and frustration to create a relaxed, stress-free journey for Chiltern’s commuters," said Carmel Roche, Head of Mobile at SilverRail Technologies. “We are extremely excited that Chiltern is embracing this opportunity to make door-to-door travel simple, seamless and cost effective.”
The pilot will be conducted on Chiltern’s newly built route between Oxford Parkway, Bicester Village station, Bicester North and London Marylebone. Customers will use an app to travel which will also provide a history of journeys, prices and how the best value fare has been calculated.
Aaron Gowell, CEO of SilverRail said: “This partnership marks a breakthrough for rail customers, allowing them to seamlessly travel through stations without having to stop at a ticket machine while being charged the best priced ticket for on the day travel. We are thrilled that Chiltern see investment in customer facing technology as the way forward, making rail travel much more efficient for travellers, whilst helping the entire network to work better.”