When the UK lockdown began in March this year, Passenger immediately began to consider what our operators needed to support them through this complex and challenging time. We began by putting an immediate pause on tickets, meaning that users avoided prolonged return and refund processes and were able to reactivate their tickets when needed. As the situation evolved, we began to understand the longterm consequences of lockdown.
When the UK government released somewhat clumsily worded advice regarding public transport, we knew we wanted to do more. Shared transport is crucial to the UK’s communities and environment, and during lockdown we had clearly seen the positives that resulted from fewer cars on our roads.
We began by implementing a raft of changes in our existing white-label apps and websites, designed to make sure the UK bus operators could get back on their feet quickly following the blow that COVID had dealt the industry. But all along, we were acutely aware that for many our lifeline was too far out of reach.
Approximately 15% of UK bus operators are categorised as ‘smaller‘ operators – these can be as small as having one or two buses in their fleet – and for them, a branded app or website is simply not financially viable. However, their users still need to be given information about bus capacity and cleanliness to be able to travel with confidence and need cashless alternatives for ticket purchasing. Operators need to be able to share important information about their services to users – not only to keep them safe but also to help with CBSSG applications – another critical factor in supporting them while they operate at reduced capacity.
And so myTrip was born – an affordable multi-operator mobile ticketing and tracking app for buses – built and powered by Passenger.
myTrip allows users to purchase cashless tickets, access important information and live bus tracking in their areas (including school and shuttle bus services) via a single app.
As well as the live location, users can find out all about the bus itself, via Passenger’s new Enhanced Vehicle Information system – including when the bus was last cleaned and whether the bus is ‘quiet’, ‘moderate’ or ‘busy’ – helping to welcome customers back on board as our economy opens up.
Passenger CEO Tom Quay explains that in building myTrip ready for when lockdown restrictions end, the public could return to public transport armed with everything they needed to plan safe and socially distanced journeys.
“Access to public transport has wide-ranging positive impacts on people’s lives. With almost a third of UK adults without access to a car, that’s a lot of people reliant on public transport for work, education and independence.”
“From an environmental perspective, it’s really important that we make sure people feel safe using shared transport for essential journeys, so we don’t default back to using cars which clog up our roads and diminish the bus provision for those who rely on them. It’s the lockdown that we want to say goodbye to, not the improved quality of air and safer streets that we’ve been experiencing.”
myTrip is an affordable product that includes
- Mobile ticketing
- Live bus tracking
- Enhanced vehicle information inc. real-time occupancy, cleanliness and wheelchair availability
- In-app contact-free verification service (for student or other ID-verified discounted tickets).
- Free Bus Open Data Service (BODS) hosting
Users will also be able to contribute feedback on the crowdedness of buses, for a further indication of how much space there is left on a vehicle. This information is then weighted and analysed against data from ETM hardware suppliers, drivers and other sources to produce a reading advising the buses current capacity.