Transport for Wales

Building a platform for smarter rail travel

Transport for Wales Rail Services (TfWRS) is in the process of an on-going transformation to its on-train and on-station ticketing systems. This will simplify travel for passengers and will allow TfWRS to gather a detailed picture of travel habits. A recent upgrade, delivered by Fujitsu, enables TfWRS to improve efficiency, re-energise staff and sell more tickets, as well as being able to introduce smart ticketing travel options for passengers.

Challenge

To update its rail ticketing system which includes smart travel options for passengers.

Solution

  • Refresh fixed terminals in manned stations with smart-enabled FUJITSU STARdesktop devices
The rail industry is changing. Fujitsu is a truly collaborative partner. The partnership enables us to undertake an exciting transformational journey.

Chad Collins, Head of Retail, Transport for Wales Rail Services (TfWRS)

30 million

passenger journeys made each year on the TfWRS network

About the customer

TfWRS is a Welsh train operating company managed by Keolis Amey Wales Cymru Limited, which took over operating the Wales & Borders franchise from Arriva Wales in October 2018 and will run the franchise for 15 years. TfWRS manages the rail service and operates stations on behalf of Transport for Wales. The network carries over 30 million passengers every year.

Creating a smart travel network

The rail industry is changing. Changes in customer behaviour require the industry to be more adaptable and more agile in the way it responds to demand. One of the requirements is a smarter approach to ticketing. Customers are looking for more options and increasing flexibility. Rail operators need to reflect this shift. This process starts with understanding individual customer travel habits.

TfWRS is a Welsh train operating company managed by Keolis Amey Wales Cymru Limited. The network carries over 30 million passengers every year. TfWRS aims to transform the overall rail experience for customers. Specifically, it plans to upgrade the retail experience and gather a more detailed understanding of travel habits. This includes accelerating the roll-out of smart ticketing, enabling passengers to load credit onto a travelcard which will simplify travel for passengers. An important step in making this happen is an upgrade of TfWRS’ ticketing machines.

Upgrading the ticketing system

TfWRS has a five-year support and maintenance agreement with Fujitsu, including the new hardware, worth £5.1 million. The first phase saw the upgrade of the on-train ticketing systems,with new FUJITSU STARmobile handsets for staff. Phase two addresses the fixed terminals in manned stations throughout Wales, with smart-enabled FUJITSU STARdesktop devices.

“We’re the first train operator in the UK to complete this upgrade to Fujitsu’s brand new TP8 hardware range,” says Chad Collins, Head of Retail for Transport for Wales Rail Services (TfWRS).

Most of the components in the new hardware can be replaced or added without stopping or shutting down the system. For staff working in the booking offices, this makes the support process less disruptive when Fujitsu attend the site for any repairs.

Running on Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10, Fujitsu’s TP8 has improved the security of the ticketing system, which was previously running on Windows 7. “With Microsoft phasing out support for this platform in January 2020, we would have been left vulnerable to security threats,” explains Collins. “We take cyber security very seriously and have a robust programme of work – which includes upgrades such as this – to ensure our systems and devices are secure.”

Presenting a more modern approach to passengers

The engagement with Fujitsu creates a modern and dynamic ticketing system. It means TfWRS now has a platform on which to create smart ticketing, and to gather the passenger information from which to inform new services.

Collins says the upgrade will improve efficiency, provide staff motivation, and allow the business to sell more tickets: “We’re building a better passenger experience.”

There is also a visual and practical benefit. The FUJITSU STARdesktop devices present a modern image to customers; they also take up less desk space.

“An element of the passenger experience is the ability to choose how and where they buy their season cards,” says Collins. “Previously, there was just an online option – smart-enabled FUJITSU STARdesktop devices means we will be able to sell new season tickets in the train station.”

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