PASSENGER operators around the world are devising new ways to sell tickets, with the commercial roll out of on-line and mobile ticketing services.
This month German Railway launches Handy-Ticket, letting passengers buy and receive an electronic ticket using mobile telephone Multimedia Messaging Services. The MMS ’ticket’ is then shown to inspectors using the mobile phone’s display.
Since August 3 passengers on First ScotRail’s sleeper services between London and Scotland have been able to book up to 12 weeks ahead of departure by SMS, showing the text message to the train crew on boarding. The technology was supplied by software firm ICE alliance, and the Derby-based company’s Managing Director Brian Gibbons said it will offer extra flexibility for passengers, particularly frequent travellers.
Netherlands Railways has completed a successful trial of internet booking and ticketless travel on Amsterdam - Brussels Benelux services using 400 pre-registered passengers, and the option will now be rolled out to the wider public.
Midland Mainline and online ticket retailer TheTrainline are trialling Print@Home on a selection of British inter-city services. A limited number of heavily-discounted advance purchase tickets are available online for £6, passengers printing their own ticket.
India’s Andhra Bank launched AB e-R@il last month. The online facility allows passengers with the bank’s debit card to book and print their own tickets for an Rs10 fee.
BTS SkyTrain has announced plans to introduce contactless smart card ticketing in Bangkok. The ticket will be branded Smart Pass, and SkyTrain anticipates it will also be valid on bus and MRT Subway services.
From August 1 Romania’s national passenger operator expanded the number of stations offering telephone bookings. Launched at Bucuresti Nord in 2001, it is now available at Constanta, Timisoara Nord, Cluj Napoca, Brasov, Iasi and Galati. Tickets must be collected 30min before departure, and there is a 30lei booking fee.
Next month Japan Post will begin issuing ATM cards which are compatible with East Japan Railway’s Suica e-money smart card. Passengers will be able to use the cards as rail tickets, and also make payments at 6700 kiosks and convenience stores.