Simplifying public transport

We’re glad to see that the Department for Transport has set in motion plans to make public transport more joined up, with its ‘Door to Door’ travel strategy1.

While it’s simple to get a train to a city, finding the right bus to get from the station to the exact address can be trickier. It’s one of the reasons why 54% of people in the UK travel by car for journeys under five miles, increasing to 80% for longer trips2.

The strategy, backed by the likes of Transport for London, Network Rail and Passenger Focus, aims to reduce congestion and pollution. It includes ideas like tidying up stations to make them feel safer, more bike racks at stations and having multiple connections on a single ticket.

But during our recent Talking Points project, where we hit the streets to film people’s views on shopping, travelling and local services, commuters told us they want solutions that use digital and mobile technology.

Before the 2013 budget, there was talk of government funding for widespread wifi and mobile access on trains. But it didn’t happen3.

Therefore, travel operators need to focus now more than ever on finding cost-effective ways to provide these services themselves. For train operators that do not have the funds to innovate, a simple, cost-effective app can help make for a simpler passenger journey. Like our Train Travel app that lets you check timetables, find the faster route, cheapest fare, and make bookings.

Digital opportunity

People want end-to-end journey planners – mobile apps they can access on the go so they can choose between train, bus or even bike routes. Showing them the time and location of every connection, to ensure they get a fully easy and reliable experience.

And these days, people don’t have to worry about cash, cards and tickets. With mobile payment and Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies, paying with the swipe of a smartphone is a growing trend. If this system can be joined up so people can pay with their phone at any station or on any bus, it will open the way for smoother journeys.

Better digital signs on trains and buses can keep people informed of exactly where they are at every stage of their journey, so they know where and when to get off.

And by making wifi available on every bus and train, people can easily access apps and online services to make travelling easier at any stage of their journey.

So while we’re all for door-to-door, let’s make sure it’s properly joined up along the way.

To find out more about providing better passenger experiences, visit o2.co.uk/enterprise/jucu and click on Joined Up Passenger. Or call Matt Worth on 01235 433 507.

1 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/door-to-door-strategy

2 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cleaner-greener-transport-door-to-door

3 http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/mar/18/budget-wi-fi-mobile-trains