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Virtual ticket agents aim to boost ticket machine use

22 Dec 2017

UK: Greater Anglia says its is the first train operator in England to roll out Scheidt & Bachmann’s FareGo ViTA ‘virtual ticket agents’ across its ticket machines, enabling passengers who have a query to press a button to contact staff via a two-way audio link.

The 196 Scheidt & Bachmann ticket machines on the Greater Anglia network have been upgraded with a speaker, microphone, software updates and a connection to the in-house call centre in Essex which is staffed by 13 ticket sellers and operates 24/7. The ticket agent can give advice and information, and they can also remotely control the machine on behalf of the customer, with the exception of the card payment screen.

During the pilot phase from September 8 to October 29 the centre received an average of 250 calls per day, of which 30% came from London Liverpool Street station.

‘We know that customers sometimes feel apprehensive about buying tickets from a machine as they are unsure of how it works or which is the best ticket for their journey, so being able to connect straight to a friendly voice who can help will really improve the service we offer’, said Customer Service Director Andrew Goodrum. ‘We hope it will result in ticket machines being used more, helping to reduce queuing time at ticket offices and offering customers a better level of customer service, enabling them to buy with ease and confidence.’