“This puts us in a unique position to drive innovation and change on a pan-European scale in the industry.”
Friday is upon again and what would the end of the week be without a new interview? Where do you read this interview on your desktop, tablet or it is very likely that you are even reading this on your phone. Our phones are with us always, there to keep us connected and to make our lives easier. This concept is something that Trainline have not missed. Celebrating its 20th Birthday this year Trainline, a Europe-wide ticketing app, is still working hard to combat the use of paper tickets, to usher in the use of mobile ticketing and connect the world at a click of a button. SmartRail World reporter Sarah Wright talks to Alidad Moghaddam about the challenges and rewards of working for this innovator...
Sarah Wright (SW): What is it that drew you to the rail industry?
Alidad Moghaddam (AM): Prior to joining Trainline, I had worked in a variety of technology companies, ranging from price comparison sites to a digital entertainment platform. What inspired me about working in technology was the ability to foster rapid innovation and positive change for the benefit of consumers in a variety of industries. In 2015, when I was approached about a role at Trainline, what immediately drew my attention was that the rail industry was ripe for game-changing technology-driven disruption and that Trainline, with its deep rail and e-commerce expertise, was uniquely placed to be the change agent. Equally important to me was the fact that European rail not only helps connect people and places, whether it be for a family reunion, a holiday, or in helping support new business hubs, but it does so in an environmentally responsible manner by significant lowering our carbon footprint.
SW: What do like most about your job?
AM: I find it incredibly exciting to be at the heart of a movement that is bringing substantial positive change to the daily lives of millions of rail customers across Europe. In particular, in my role managing Trainline for Business, we are working on a truly exciting product roadmap to help a variety of businesses, whether it be by delivering a best-in-class mobile app experience to our small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers or helping large corporates manage their rail spend effectively through our travel management tools. Last but not least, I have the pleasure of working every day with a strong team of like-minded and talented individuals who truly believe in and live by our company’s ethos.
SW: What’s the biggest challenge in your role?
AM: We now cover over 44 rail operators across most of the continent. This puts us in a unique position to drive innovation and change on a pan-European scale in the industry. It also equally means that with a plethora of exciting opportunities ahead of us, knowing where to start can be a challenge - which is a good position to be in.
SW: What will be some of the biggest differences between rail now and in 10 years’ time?
AM: From a business travel perspective, with European rail infrastructure continuously improving, rail travel is an increasingly appealing option versus air. High speed rail investment has already created 6,000km of high-speed track throughout Europe and it is estimated that by 2020, the continent’s high speed rail network will grow by over 5,000km and passenger volume by over 40%. I expect these projections to be further supported by innovation in business rail travel, including a fully digital and mobile-enabled traveller experience, near ubiquitous rollout of e-tickets, point to point journey planning, real-time data, and smart reporting for businesses. Trainline for Business is already leading the way to make this a reality, whether it’s working with rail partners to rollout of mobile tickets across the UK, launching business profiles within our app, or providing a new rail travel management platform for SMEs.
SW: Lastly, what is your favourite rail journey?
AM: My favourite rail journey is from London to Paris on the Eurostar. Having grown up in France and having a number of good friends who still live there, I really enjoy the flexibility and convenience of being able to go back for visits on short notice. The short journey is a breeze - you get the chance to sit back, enjoy a glass of wine and relax - and in two short hours you’re there.
SW: Wine and a simple jouney sounds ideal to me - thank you so much for your time Alidad!
Join us at SmartRail Europe in Amsterdam on the 5th and 6th April 2017 to learn more about the latest developments in the European region.
5 minutes with… You? Each Friday the team here at SmartRail World brings you a new 5 minutes with... interview. This fun, fast-paced feature will help you get to know more about personalities across the industry, their ideas and experiences and of course their own favourite rail journey! Want to take part? Email: email@example.com to find out more.
The last 5 minutes with... Hayley Magorian, Project Management Graduate Trainee at Transport for London (TfL)