Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Multi-million-pound investment in automatic vehicle location for Stagecoach


Yesterday, Stagecoach announced a multi-million-pound investment in a nationwide automatic vehicle location system for its 7,000-strong regional bus fleet in the UK.
Britain’s biggest bus operator will build on current ticketing system technology to develop a platform to deliver key service information to customers and local authorities. Work on a pilot is expected to be completed by summer 2014, with the system fully deployed in late 2015.

 Smart phone apps will give access to real time information
It will allow for real time service information to be provided to customers via smartphone apps and the internet. The system is also a cost-effective way to help local authorities deliver real time passenger information.
Stagecoach, which will be the first major UK bus operator to use ticketing system technology in this way nationally, also expects it to help improve bus schedule efficiency and service performance.
A contract to supply and provide on-going support of the system has been awarded by Stagecoach to VIX Technology, a global provider of integrated transit and mobility solutions making it easier for people to use and pay for public transport.
Stagecoach’s existing VIX TP5000 ticket machines already support ITSO smartcards, such as concessionary bus passes and StagecoachSmart products such as the multi-journey Dayrider and Megarider tickets.
The system will be used to track vehicle location, monitoring and reporting progress in real time. It will provide this information to back office systems for use on bus stop displays, mobile apps and the internet.
Robert Montgomery, managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “New technology is opening up new ways to make travel easier for our customers and Stagecoach has a track-record of being at the forefront of transport innovation.
“Passengers want certainty over when their bus will arrive. Investment in this new system will help deliver a platform to provide better journeys for our customers, more cost-effective information provision by local authorities and improve the efficiency of our own operation.
“We already provide the lowest bus fares of any major bus operator in the country, as well as delivering the best customer satisfaction of any national bus operator. We hope this new technology will help encourage car users to make the switch to greener, smarter bus travel.”
Peter Eccleson, Director of VIX UK and Ireland, said: “This is a substantial commitment by Stagecoach and VIX are proud to have been confirmed as their technology partner. Once again Stagecoach has demonstrated its willingness to embrace transport innovation by selecting the VIX TP5000 electronic ticket machine as the on-vehicle platform to deliver this solution. The new solution will aggregate large volumes of real-time transport network data to deliver critical business intelligence to Stagecoach.
“This will help them to drive continuous improvements in operational efficiency and service delivery. It will also enable the delivery of information to passengers on their journey options, allowing them to make decisions more easily. VIX has a strong heritage of delivering technical innovation and this project further confirms our leading position in the UK market.”
Stagecoach has twice been independently recognised as offering the lowest bus fares of any major operator in the UK. It provides unlimited travel on local networks across the UK for less than £2 a day, as well as offering discounted travel for young people in further education.

The company has invested £445m in around 3,000 new buses for its networks in the UK in the past six years, with the vast majority of orders going to British manufacturers and helping safeguard and create jobs in the UK.
Independent research by Passenger Focus published in March 2013 found Stagecoach has the highest customer satisfaction of any national bus operator in the UK. It found that 86% of Stagecoach bus passengers were satisfied with their service, with only 5% dissatisfied.
In April 2013, Stagecoach launched the UK first long-term nationwide discounted bus travel scheme for jobseekers, providing half-price travel to help them find employment. The scheme is funded entirely on a commercial basis by Stagecoach without any public sector support.

Details from Stagecoach press release here

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