Passenger has found itself in the privileged position of speaking with and learning from more operators than ever before. This has happened as our Passenger Premium customer base has grown, but since launching our multi-operator platform – myTrip – in September 2020, we have found ourselves with a greater understanding of the challenges that smaller operators face.

As we began to bring those operators together on the myTrip platform, we encountered inconsistencies, disparities and complexities. At Passenger, every day is a school day, and much as we do with our Passenger Premium apps and websites, we use our learnings to continually improve myTrip for operators and users.

The Passenger team are all looking forward to lockdown restrictions easing and the country ‘opening up‘ again. Despite the past 12 months of physical inertia, there have been significant technological steps forward in many industries as restrictions dictated that digital change was needed to tackle the challenges being faced. Launching a platform for smaller operators is just one of many solutions that Passenger designed and created during the first year of the pandemic. 

Working with so many operators has helped us to understand that steps need to be taken to harmonise aspects of operations that can differ throughout the bus industry. The terminology is similar but definitions vary, resulting in operators having different answers to questions such as “When is the end of service?” and “How old is a child?” and “Who can travel on a family ticket?”. Understanding how best to handle those variations in a single app is key to creating a smooth customer experience. 

From a user experience perspective, inconsistencies cause doubt, which becomes a barrier to choosing public transport. With a nation of people already planning staycations and UK-based holidays for the foreseeable future – bus operators should be taking every opportunity to make sure their services are accessible, inviting and accommodating to a potential rush of new customers this year (and beyond). 

Passenger wanted to enable myTrip operators to opt for mobile tickets to be valid until the ‘end of service’, as an alternative to tickets that run for their full entitlement following activation. Among operators, there are many definitions of ‘end of service’. It is, of course, the user who will find themselves in difficulty if there is ambiguity around when a ticket ceases to be valid, so to make it easy for users to understand when service finishes and following discussions with operators, we set 04:30 am as a universal cut-off time.

To further streamline from a user experience perspective, mobile tickets valid after the morning peak times have been introduced. Two off-peak periods – from 09:00 am and 09:30 am – (based on the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme implementation in different parts of England) have been created.

Following the release of the National Bus Strategy, now is the time to reflect on the learnings that have been made over the past year, remove disparity and put changes in place that will strengthen bus operations throughout the country. There is a huge amount of work ahead to stop a car-led post-pandemic return to travel, but when operators and suppliers are able to work together, the strength of that collective knowledge is a force to be reckoned with.

To find out how you can join the myTrip platform and help increase your ridership, contact [email protected]

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