Kanwar Brar - Bringing cutting edge digital technology to our bus passengers

At Go-Ahead, we’re committed to improving each customer’s journey from start to finish. 

We need to keep up with the technological changes in our customers' daily lives so we can provide the best service and an integrated experience.

_SJH1979.jpgOver the pandemic we have become more accustomed to technology than ever before - whether it’s Microsoft Teams catch ups or doing our shopping online. We need to continue to be one step ahead. 

We were the first transport company to move away from paper and roll out ‘theKey’ smartcards and then the open loop contactless ticketing across every single one of our buses. Now we’re going a step further – examining solutions such as ‘tap in tap off’ and digital apps.  

Over the coming years, we will be partnering with public transport technology provider Passenger, who will provide websites and customer facing mobile apps for all our UK bus companies. A key improvement will be the ability for customers to buy tickets online seamlessly and use them instantly in apps – making planning journeys, purchasing tickets and travelling even easier. 

We trialled Passenger’s technology across the business in different areas, where more than a million users were able to plan and book journeys. In Brighton & Hove we saw the number of website users more than double in a year. 

As we implement the technology across the business – from Plymouth to Brighton,  Oxford to Norwich and Newcastle to Manchester – we can continue to innovate and bring the best experience to customers. 

That’s also not forgetting that smart ticketing is also the environmental option, too. As we come out of the pandemic, we must promote the bus as the sustainable, green alternative to car. By paying with an app, there is minimal paper wastage, and we’re all improving our carbon footprint. 

In addition to rolling out Passenger’s technology across our UK bus operations, we’re committed to using their technology to make even more innovations. This includes integrating a contactless portal into the app so passengers can see their payment history in a one stop shop. We’re also investigating how we can easily integrate flexible season tickets and ticketing that allows bus passengers to travel across multiple operators.  

In our enablement of new websites and apps, we want to ensure that we minimise any impact to our customers. Passenger will be managing the migration of existing customers – including those with active tickets – to the new platforms. We will also be rolling out business accounts later in 2021 to give greater functionality and control to our B2B customers. 

This is just another step ahead in our technology journey - listening to what our passengers need and providing relevant, industry-leading solutions. We're continuing to set standards for innovation, technology and sustainability that we hope others will follow.