An initiative to further enhance passenger mobility around Nottingham and improve cost efficiencies for Keolis, the operator of the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) tram network, has been successfully rolled out with the support of smart ticketing provider TransMach.
Initiated in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Nottingham Contactless Project enables customers to travel on NCT buses, the Linkbus network and the tram. It is the first such multi-operator network in the UK outside of London, and customers will always be charged the best fare regardless of the number or type of journey made. Tram travel is paid for by tapping the ticket validators using a contactless bank card or via Apple Pay or Google Pay apps on a smartphone/watch.
To reduce instances of fare dodging, Keolis Nottingham employs Customer Experience Agents (CXAs) who can inspect tickets and also validate contactless transactions, using TransMach’s handheld TM920 machines which have been programmed to read ITSO smartcard and all other contactless card transactions using an API connection for checking the last used validation.
Mandip Bahra, Assistant Commercial Manager at Keolis Nottingham, said: “The main reason for selecting TransMach’s TM920 was to equip our CXAs with just one user-friendly device that was able to check all tickets and contactless transactions but also had the functionality to issue penalty fare notices where required. It was the ideal solution.
“Reducing administration was another major benefit, as previously our CXAs had to record all their activity on paper then transfer the data to a spreadsheet. The TM920 captures this information automatically and stores it on TransMach’s encrypted cloud-based back office. Not only is this a seamless system but it eliminates the possibility of entering data incorrectly and reduces our carbon footprint by not using paper.”
Since the roll-out of the project, TransMach has introduced a messaging service to improve communication between CXAs and team leaders, which it says is especially effective when managing service disruptions. CXAs receive an instant pop-up notification alerting them of a new message, which is a discreet alternative to using a voice broadcast on the tram. The Android-based handheld also offers digital forms such as car park checks and surveys, which were previously paper based.
Commenting on its partnership with Keolis Nottingham, Minesh said: “Our mission is to save public transport operators considerable time and resources, through the benefits of technology, allowing them to focus on delivering the most efficient service.
“Being able to deliver a seamless ticket validation solution for Keolis Nottingham has been an exciting project, which has allowed TransMach to increase the capability of our TM920 mobile machines. As well as being compatible with all forms of payment protocol, including ITSO smart cards, travel QR codes and the latest EMV specification, we have been able to help the operator be more sustainable and cost efficient.”