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Paperless Passengers: The Future of Travel
By Anna Holness – Managing Partner, Passenger Services, Telefónica UK
Passengers don’t want to collect tickets from a machine or even print them at home; in the era of the smartphone people expect to get everything they need on their device. And they definitely don’t want to remember to bring the same card they paid with to the station.
According to our latest research into how digital services are changing the travelling experience, 80% of passengers already use technology to plan journeys and look up prices. The next logical step is to make the whole experience seamless, from researching routes to authorising payment and even collecting tickets. And if the journey is disrupted, being able to give passengers the flexibility to re-evaluate options and plan their onward journeys using just the device they have in the palm of their hands.
Digital technology can transform the journey. Passengers will never be happy to hear of a delay, but real-time updates delivered to them in a familiar format leaves them feeling better informed and more in control. A good example of this is the way that some organisations are increasingly making use of social media, from delivering service updates, offering promotions and even saying sorry when things don’t go to plan. Passenger service providers need to think about more than just their websites and apps.
What’s more, as a transport provider you know where your passenger is travelling to and this creates an opportunity to engage with them once they reach their destination. You can thank them for their business and recommend where to go next. The possibilities are endless and the technology is there – it’s just waiting to be harnessed.
I’m looking forward to speaking at the Transport Ticketing Conference today and am anticipating some interesting discussions on the future of travel. For more ideas on how to improve passenger experience through technology follow me on Twitter @Anna_elh or visit our Passenger Services website.
 O2 Digital Journeys Report conducted by analysts Conlumino in June 2013 consulting over 2,000 UK consumers and over 25 Passenger Services operators.