Operators using Passenger’s Premium Commerce platform can now create discount codes that can be entered during checkout by a user to receive an amount off their ticket purchase.

Discount codes can be used to entice new riders, promote services and reward use with discounted tickets and promotional offers, following the launch of one of the most significant capability additions to Premium this year. 

With the ability to configure discount codes to specific tickets, times and user demographics, operators are able to target revenue and user growth across all segments. When used in conjunction with creative marketing campaigns, clear goals and target audiences, discount campaigns can yield incredible results. Where operators have run similar promotions, they have seen an uptake in bus passenger numbers as high as 20%.  Providing valuable insight, operators can measure how discount codes are performing to determine effectiveness and where to refine future campaigns. 

Passenger’s introduction of discount codes enables operators to directly answer the National Bus Strategy’s call for ‘non-user’ incentives.

“There should be heavy promotion and marketing to familiarise non-users with their local buses, to demystify the service for non-users, and introductory offers to promote the service to them”

National Bus Strategy, 2021

The strategy also highlights the importance of providing and encouraging uptake of digital services. As an online capability that can be offered in traditional printed campaigns, discount codes can be an effective tool to drive rapid conversion of users to digital.

Passenger Head of Product, Greg Hepworth said “I’m excited to be launching Passenger’s newest platform capability. These sophisticated discount campaign tools demonstrate our commitment to ongoing delivery of the most valuable ideas. Not only will they help our customers to actively respond to the challenges laid out by the National Bus Strategy but they’ll empower them to be creative and experimental with the ways in which they attract new customers to try the bus and incentivise those that have not yet returned. I can’t wait to see the impact of this on passenger growth!”. 

From August 2021, operators with Passenger Premium apps can create and share discount codes to promote services to new users, run themed promotions for certain days/routes or target specific user groups with specific offers. 

Passenger has offered complementary services, such as in-app verifications, Travel Portal ticketing (giving operators a secure e-commerce system to sell and distribute tickets to businesses, organisations, and schools) and ticket gifting for a number of years. 

Expanding that offering with a simple, flexible discount codes service to operators is another step forward in enhancing the user experience, providing better access to public transport and helping buses be seen as an attractive alternative to private cars. 

Checkout screen showing applied discount code

Passenger customers, including the Go-Ahead Group, Blackpool Transport Services and Nottingham City Transport, are now beginning to roll out campaigns using the new tools.

In Southampton, discount codes have already been implemented by Bluestar, the leading transport operator within the city. Bluestar is offering students at Barton Peveril college up to £260 off their termly or annual bus passes, and offering discounts to employees of businesses in the area that use the bus to travel to and from work, including B&Q and Red Funnel.

Nikki Honer, Head of Marketing at Go South Coast said: “Implementing technology that brings additional benefits to our customers and entices new customers onto the bus is a critical part of our strategy. Being able to offer flexible promotional incentives – just as our users have with other purchasing experiences – is an important part of that plan. We are very pleased to be able to support businesses and educational establishment’s users to start taking the bus more often and to welcome new customers on board our services”.

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