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Future focus: Rail passengers and apps - what next?

Posted by Luke Upton on Feb 9, 2015

CityMapper Image How many of your use apps to improve your travel experience? Do you find apps like CityMapper (pictured right) an essential part of your daily commute? Or have you got a phone full of them all downloaded with the best intentions, but you just never get round to using them? Today SmartRail World shares a new report from Passenger Focus, a UK independent Passenger Watchdog on the role of apps with rail passengers and how they could be developed in the future. We open with an introduction from Chief Executive, Anthony Smith; “Apps in general are becoming increasingly loved and sophisticated. However, our previous work on apps in rail showed that commuters were often unaware that they could use apps to find out information about their journey or to buy tickets. When they saw what was already available, they were generally impressed by what was currently possible. This new project aimed to explore future possibilities for apps in rail. We consulted some industry experts and some rail passengers who can be considered early adopters in technology and particularly in apps.

Both could identify improvements and innovations with train apps. The priority seems to be enhancing the customer experience for the user and creating more functions. The majority of the new ideas proposed exploited the key requirement for rail apps; providing functionality while ‘on the go’.

Passengers were most interested in new features which would enhance their journey experience including end-to-end journey planning, an offline mode (as back-up when no network coverage) and being able to use the smartphone as a ticket. However, a challenge for the industry is creating excitement around rail apps. This may be difficult due to the functional role that they play, but effectively communicating how they can make travelling easier or providing an incentive to download and try it would enhance take-up.

Apps will never appeal to all. Many passengers do not have smartphones or tablets and others who have them do not wish to use them for these kind of activities. So we must always remember that traditional forms of communication and support for passengers, including staff, are maintained alongside apps and other technological advances.”

Read the fascinating and detailed full report from Passenger Focus click here and for more about the organisation and their work click here. Ian Wright, Head of Research at Passenger Focus is a lead speaker at SmartRail Europe (19-20 May, 2015 Amsterdam) - 3 Congresses, 1 Definitive Show. Click the banner below for more.


See also: 'Appy birthday to TriMet's industry leading mobile solution and UP Express the latest provider to get on-board with mobile ticketing.

Download free Meeting Passenger Demands Report

Topics: Passenger Information Systems, Ticketing

Luke Upton

Written by Luke Upton

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