Ground-breaking technology promises to kickstart green-led economic recovery from Covid crisis

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A pre-Christmas trail was carried out with Oxontime. ZIPABOUT

British technology company Zipabout has created a solution which it says will help to get the UK’s high-street back on its feet once lockdown ends and encourage growth in the future. It enables transport operators to connect with brands, businesses and retailers of all sizes and reward passengers for using public transport, encouraging sustainable options in the long-term.

The firm says its idea is being championed by the government, transport operators and brands alike because it represents a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone involved:

  • Transport operators – It improves customer experience and loyalty by offering passenger rewards and even a thank you for returning to public transport. It can also incentivise behaviour, for example managing passenger flow around busy times or incentivising off-peak travel.
  • Brands and retailers – It allows engagement with a local audience without any of the traditional barriers or intrusive technology.
  • Passengers – It makes the journey a little nicer or a delay more bearable. Delivered directly by a trusted channel such as a bus operator’s app without the need for personal or geographical data.

A pre-Christmas lockdown trial proved the effectiveness of the service. Working with EagleEye Solutions and its AIR digital marketing platform to enable the in-store redemption, Zipabout collaborated with an international café chain and Oxfordshire County Council’s Oxontime bus information service across both Stagecoach and Oxford Bus.

Bus passengers using Oxford Bus Company’s Oxontime Connect on Messenger received a ‘Thank you for travelling’ message and were offered a free hot drink at their local café chain. At the end of their journey, they received a unique QR code and directions to their nearest store to redeem it.
Alex Froom, Zipabout CEO, said: “Zipabout’s real-time personalised information service already helps passengers travel easily and safely. It can now connect bus and rail operators with brands and retailers, empowering them to reward and incentivise sustainable travel and help kickstart a green-led economic recovery from this crisis.”

Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company, said: “Both public transport and the retail and hospitality sectors have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Zipabout’s technology means that we’re able to work together with retailers and local hospitality businesses to reward our mutual customers and help to encourage footfall back to our local high streets. This will be a really useful tool in helping us to support our communities’ recovery from the pandemic, and we’re already thinking about how we might be able to extend the use of this technology further.”

Llewelyn Morgan, Head of Innovation at Oxfordshire County Council, added: “We’re delighted to have been part of this trial. When restrictions are lifted, not only will the programme support the safe operation of public transport by providing unique personalised information to travellers, it will also encourage people back onto public transport so keeping our county moving.”