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Bus operators all over the country are already beginning to #BuildBackBetter and ensure their fleets are ready to welcome passengers back on board when safe to do so.

Blackpool Transport has been a member of the Passenger team for several years, and have positioned themselves at the forefront of innovation, dedicated to building a modernised and accessible network for the millions of passengers they carry each year.

When Blackpool Transport opted to change their ticket machine suppliers from Parkeon to Ticketer machines with QR code capabilities, Passenger was ready to ensure its part in the switchover was effortless.

Marketing & Commercial Manager at Blackpool Transport, Shane Grindey said “Introducing QR codes to our mobile tickets is an important step forward in understanding more about our customers by using data. Switching to Ticketer machines with QR code readers means we have needed to physically change our hardware, but Passenger has made the software change smooth, simple and effortless. We have certainly appreciated having one less thing to worry about during this challenging period by knowing we have been able to depend on Passenger to work with us as we upgrade our systems.”

Screenshot of the Blackpool Transport app showing a QR code.
Screenshot of a QR code on the Blackpool Transport app

Adding QR code scanning to apps brings additional benefits to operators and users. It provides extra security, as apps use a dynamic QR code (that changes every few seconds) on tickets to mitigate fraud, and access to data unavailable when using paper tickets or boarding codes. Other benefits include a simplified ticket validation process for drivers and better ticket-use management information through a closed-loop system.

QR code tickets mean faster boarding for users plus a contact-free experience as they scan their own devices under the QR reader on the Electronic Ticket Machine (ETM).

Alongside the move to QR codes in the Blackpool Transport app, Passenger also coordinated the switch to a new vehicle tracking feed for Blackpool Transport, which makes it possible for bus passengers to see how busy the bus is before they board.

Passenger supports QR code integration with leading ETM providers, making the switch to a new hardware provider straightforward and the benefits of change seen by operators and customers as soon as possible

Lockdown changed a lot of things for a lot of people in the UK. At Passenger, we experienced initial highs and lows, then acceptance, then curiosity. If everything we accepted as ‘normal’ could be turned on its head so quickly, had being locked down given us a type of freedom? As a team and as a part of the transport industry, perhaps we had been given the chance to come together despite physically being kept apart.

A UK-wide lockdown and pandemic was not how we had foreseen spending the majority of 2020, but at the epicentre of so much change, we found ourselves invigorated. We’ve directly tackled the challenges thrown at the bus industry, asking “How can we help?”. As a result, we’ve embarked on a new adventure with many more operators joining us on our journey.

We’ve launched myTrip – a national app solution at an affordable price for smaller bus operators to add mobile ticketing and live bus tracking to their customer experience. myTrip gives users the tools they need to travel with confidence: with their tickets, safety information and live bus locations all in the palm of their hands. Any smaller operator in the UK is eligible to get on board with myTrip and there are even more benefits – such as automatic BODS updates and easy-to-use, intuitive customer service software.

Through one app, bus operators across the UK can start their own digital journey on a purpose-built platform to help support and encourage safe bus travel.

Bringing shared transport to the forefront of the UK’s travel infrastructure is a huge challenge. However, helping build the future that we want to live in, where sustainable, shared transport is the first choice for people on the move, is a critical and crucial goal. If we can be bold and begin to change and reform the systems we had become used to, we can start to craft a future with safer streets, cleaner air, better societal equality and smarter allocation of shared resources.

Passenger CTO Dave Hulbert explains “Access to public transport is crucial to the economy and safety is a critical factor to public transport users. myTrip is a simple way to access current advice and capacity information for buses, restoring confidence in public transport and empowering the public to get back on buses in a way that is safe and secure”.

Lockdown made us become better neighbours and brought communities closer together. People embraced ‘slow living’ hobbies – bread baking and growing veg have surfaced in the Passenger team – and others developed a newfound appreciation of how our lives could be with significantly less traffic on the roads and now actively advocate for changes in the way that we move around. Rather than pining for the past, we want to harness the momentum of these positive changes as we move forward.

Like everyone, the biggest challenges we now face are navigating the impact of Covid-19, continuing to serve our customers to the best of our abilities and ensuring that operators have the tools they need to support and communicate with their customers safely and effectively.

Now, as we look past lockdown to what the future brings for shared public transport in the UK, we remain focused by reflecting on one of our core values – collaboration and teamwork. By working together we can build a better world – driving change, demanding better and demonstrating that building a fairer world for everyone is possible.

In a UK-wide collaboration, transport technology companies Passenger and Ticketer are working together to ensure that UK bus operators are able to deliver the most accurate information possible for their passengers during times of extreme change and uncertainty.

Ticketer reports that buses are still transporting 11% of their usual traveller numbers – including key workers, key worker’s children and those who require public transport to travel to shops and medical appointments.

To help bus users over the coming weeks, Ticketer, the UK’s leading smart ticketing systems supplier and Bournemouth’s Passenger, the UK’s top-rated public transport app provider will roll out Passenger’s Live Buses capability to all it’s operator customers. Live vehicle tracking on Passenger apps and websites will show travellers exactly where buses are on interactive maps, as operators continue to adjust timetables around key worker needs.

After seeing the challenges operators face keeping frequently changing timetable information up-to-date, the teams at Passenger and Ticketer wanted to help. By offering Live Buses to operators, they hope to help keep the country moving at this difficult time. Passenger CEO Tom Quay explains “Scheduler teams are under huge pressure to make complex timetable adjustments and get the data published into every IT system that needs it. Given the unprecedented number of changes taking place, operators simply cannot update their realtime systems quickly enough. It is imperative that travellers can rely on getting the most accurate information possible. Showing the physical location of a bus in apps and websites is the best way to provide confidence that the bus is on its way, for anyone who has to travel”.

Ticketer will help automate the process by enabling vehicle monitoring (SIRI-VM) feeds for operators who would otherwise use a combination of timetable data and bus stop monitoring to update their feeds. “We are delighted to work with our industry colleagues at Passenger to make this happen. Now, more than ever, it’s important for key industry alliances to form, to work together to put the needs of our operators first. Allowing operators to show bus locations on their apps will help key workers and those making essential journeys during these difficult times” said John Clarfelt, CEO at Ticketer.

Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP wrote to the Association of Local Bus Managers (ALBUM) on March 25th, explaining that the government understood the importance of bus services to communities, key workers and people taking essential journeys. Rt Hon Shapps wrote “I cannot stress enough the importance of first class communication to passengers and local authorities, so that those for whom travel remains essential are absolutely clear about what buses will be running where and when”.

Written by: Passenger |

Many of the operator TransXChange datasets already added to BODS are hosted by Passenger and linked for automatic updates. Go-Ahead subsidiary East Yorkshire, and operators Transdev and Nottingham City Transport are amongst those already using the new service.Anthony Carver-Smith, Marketing Manager at NCT comments, “When the regulations were announced there was a concern from operators that it could be a time consuming process to meet the new legislation, adding to an already full workload in delivering services. But Passenger has made compliance with the new regulations automatic for us. Each time we upload data to Passenger Cloud for our app and website it gets published straight to BODS. Simple and very effective.”

The Bus Open Data Service went live on 29 January 2020 and over the next year will become the online home of bus operator data in England. The team at Passenger has worked closely with the BODS team at the Department for Transport to enable operators to meet the new requirements.

Alex Hornby, CEO at Transdev adds, “Open data has been shown to stimulate innovation and economic growth. As a forward thinking company we understand the vital role the transport network plays in our community, now and in the future. It is great to see our colleagues at Passenger making it really straightforward for us to publish our data to the new BODS service.”

Following the passing of the Bus Services Act 2017, operators running commercial bus services and local authorities acting on behalf of bus operators must provide their timetable data by the end of 2020. Sharing fare and vehicle location data to BODS will also be required by 2021.

To find out more about how Passenger is helping operators to quickly and easily publish data on the new BODS service please get in touch.


Written by: Passenger |

Today sees the simultaneous launch of Beryl Bikes and Bay locations in the websites of all local bus companies: Morebus, Unibus and Yellow Buses. Yellow Buses also sees the locations made available in its smartphone app.

The project, led by Passenger and endorsed by BCP Councillors Andy Hadley (Transport portfolio holder) and Dr Felicity Rice (Environment portfolio holder), is an important step in making it easier for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole residents to easily understand the travel options available to them that don’t require a car.

Councillor Hadley comments, “As a major urban area we know we have huge congestion challenges, and limited space to build new capacity. We want to make alternative travel options more integrated and in doing so, set an example of what collaboration can achieve. If we are to address our climate emergency we must work together to make it easy to leave the car at home, especially for shorter journeys.”

The project includes several organisations working together towards a more sustainable transport network in the South East Dorset city region; BCP Council, Passenger, Beryl, Morebus (part of the Go-Ahead Group) and Yellow Buses.

When people travel more actively—using the bus, a bike or simply walking—there is a positive impact on their health and wellbeing. With increasing awareness of climate change, more people are wanting to reduce their impact on the environment. Travelling by car is responsible for 60% of all transport-related emissions, so alternatives to the car can have a huge impact on the quality of the air we breathe and free up space for those who really need to drive.

Andrew Wickham, Managing Director at Go South Coast, who operate both Morebus and Unibus, adds, “By working together with the other public transport operators, including Beryl, we can encourage more residents out of their cars.”

Passenger, whose product Passenger Cloud powers Yellow Buses website and app, was recently rated one of the best public transport apps in the UK. Based in Westbourne, Passenger is also behind the Morebus and Unibus websites – as well as a slew of operators throughout the UK.

Beryl, who launched in Bournemouth and Poole in June of 2019, have made the availability of their Beryl Bikes, accessible through a secure API, enabling organisations like Passenger to share live locations of the available Beryl Bikes and Bays. Passenger has enriched the More Bus and Yellow Bus applications with this data.

Philip Ellis, Beryl Co-Founder and CEO, comments “By joining up travel options we’re making sustainable travel an easier choice. Working with the local bus companies means that travelling by bike and bus, as part of the same journey, will become a realistic travel option for even more people.”

Passenger CEO, Tom Quay adds, “The project has given the partners a great opportunity to work closely together. With everyone at the same table we’ve been able to deliver a project quickly that has a positive impact on lots of people locally”.

You can visit the Morebus, Unibus and Yellow Buses websites or download the Yellow Buses app from the app stores, to see the Beryl Bikes and bays alongside information about the buses.