Transforming customer experience and minimizing fraud with a new ticketing platform
Comboios De Portugal (Trains of Portugal)
With one transaction, it is possible to find a single ticket for the national network and in urban areas it can be used for multiple operators.
Luis Vale, Product System Developer, Comboios De Portugal
Human Centric Innovation
Portugal's national railway, Comboios De Portugal, needed a digital ticketing platform that would be faster, more flexible and more accurate than its existing systems. The new system, which Fujitsu helped implement, offers much greater flexibility to customers. It also minimizes the potential for passenger fraud and enables the company to maximize revenue.
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Improving customer experience with a new ticketing system
Comboios De Portugal (CP) is the state-owned national railways operator. It has a firm commitment to contributing towards Portugal's economic development and the safe, efficient transportation of its citizens. Over 100 million passengers travel with CP annually and on business days more than 1,450 train connections help to meet the travel needs of people throughout the nation.
In an increasingly competitive transport environment, providing flexibility and convenience to passengers is critical for success. Prior to the adoption of the new solution, ticketing was mostly a manual task making it difficult to centrally collect and manage data. This was not only time-consuming and prone to fraud but also made it difficult for train travel purchases to link and interoperate with other modes of transport.
"Over the past ten years, I have followed major transformations in ticketing technology. It's revolutionizing every business area and the railway is no exception because it is becoming more and more competitive," explained Luis Vale, Product System Developer, Comboios De Portugal. "So that means we need to provide the best products with the best flexibility to our clients. The system has to evolve constantly because of technology requirements and transport legislation."
CP decided that introducing a contactless card system would enable it to build a nationwide electronic ticketing platform that would better serve customers, reduce fraud and streamline costs. At the same time, the solution would strongly facilitate interoperability with other carriers.
"Smart tickets and cards help us understand clients," added Vale. "In addition, there is a permanent need for integration with other services and transport companies."
The organization identified five areas to address: a centralized database and analysis facility; ticketing offices; on-board ticketing; self-service vending machines; and in-station gates. Following a public tender, CP selected Fujitsu to manage everything except for the physical gates.
Building a communications platform for passengers
Fujitsu's team developed a bespoke software platform from the ground up that acts as the hub for the new smart card system. This collects data from 21 applications to enable total visibility of transactions and minimize fraudulent activity.
"This centralized system is capable of communicating with other corporate system such as accounting, data analysis and access channels and, most importantly, it communicates with our 110 million passengers," says Vale.
Fujitsu equipped 325 ticket offices in 154 stations with new POS devices while also installing 165 automated kiosks, all of which connect securely to the network for real-time authentication. Passengers are now issued with CALYPSO RFID-enabled contactless cards that can be recharged at any of these locations as well as at ATMs. In addition, on-board conductors now carry PDAs which can validate and sell tickets for added convenience.
Exploring more flexible solutions together
For CP, the most significant benefit is the ability to minimize the potential for passengers to travel without paying for the correct ticket. At the same time, by automating much of the ticketing process, fewer on-site personnel are required, further lowering costs. The new solution also offers much more flexibility to customers, particularly when it comes to interoperability with other transport providers.
"Using the information that we receive in real-time from this system, we can better adapt to the actual needs of our clients. For example, now we can sell tickets through ATMs or the internet," continued Vale. "With one transaction, it is possible to find a single ticket for the national network and in the urban areas it can be used for multiple operators."
The company can also now view all transactions in real-time on a single screen, allowing it to respond more flexibly to changing market demands. This information is much more accurate than before because the potential for human error during manual entry has been eliminated.
From a passenger perspective, interoperability with other modes of transport is the ultimate in convenience. Anyone can use their smart card to board ferries, buses, the metro and the trains, thereby saving time and eliminating hassle.
CP now has a robust, flexible ticketing infrastructure that can scale as the company grows. It is reducing fraud, minimizing the need for human intervention and allowing the company to work more closely with other transport agencies.
As a result, CP has already deployed FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY across the company to support various business functions.
Luis Vale concluded, "It has been a good journey. Fujitsu better understands our business, we better understand the technologies in use and we are now together exploring new opportunities."
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[ Published in 2016 ]