Not too long ago, consumers had to either fall in line or call a travel agent to book their trips. But, thanks to new advancements in technology, booking a flight, cruise, train or even a trip on a bus is now more convenient.

In fact, 90% of people living in urban areas use public transport on a regular basis. It also shows that 3 out of 4 people believe that electronic ticketing (e-ticketing) would make travelling easier. Aside from providing convenient booking services, technology offers passengers an access to real-time information and travel updates from their smart devices. Now, they can get to their destination in the most convenient and efficient way possible.

However, some train and bus operators are yet to fully adopt the most innovative of technologies. The transport industry is losing £1.2 billion for failing to connect customers effectively and digitally. Since more people are now using their mobile phones, tablets, and other smart devices to plan their routes, check trip delays, and compare ticket prices, how can these transport operators satisfy their customers’ needs?

Upgrade Passenger Amenities

Aside from providing their customers with reliable real-time information, it wouldn’t hurt if operators could provide their passengers with better amenities.

In Southern Massachusetts, for example, the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA) opened a 8,000 square-foot intercity bus facility for passengers travelling to Providence and Boston. This new terminal, which opened July of last year, is designed with a climate-controlled passenger waiting terminal, a full-service ticket counter, public restrooms, and 5 off-street bus bays to serve around 3,500 passengers daily.

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said that “This new facility will help SRTA operate more efficiently while attracting a new generation of riders in southeastern Massachusetts to public transportation.”

These new types of passenger facilities will attract more commuters, especially people who currently aren’t utilising public transportation a chance. Also, these will benefit operators by giving them new streams of income.

Single Ticketing System

We are in an age where technology isn’t a privilege anymore; it’s considered as a right. As more commuters are starting to go mobile, transport operators need to understand that 1/3 of their customers will be purchasing their tickets through their mobile devices.

By 2014, analysts believe that the number of ticket sales will rise to 78%. Also, if these operators start adopting new technologies, almost 52% are willing to pay more for better services.

Since we are moving towards a paperless society, a Single Ticketing System for all public transportation would be welcomed by all. This will greatly benefit passengers, as they can use it to ride multiple modes of transportation. Also, this will encourage daily drivers to leave their cars at home and commute.

An Efficient Intra and Intermodal Exchange

Technology can help create an efficient integrated system that commuters can benefit from. Real-time updates, single ticketing systems, integrated fare systems, and better passenger facilities can eliminate gaps between existing light rail systems, subways, commuter rails, and local bus lines. Passengers can now choose what mode of transport is best for them or try them all out.

With cooperation between the operators and the government, an efficient intermodal exchange can be achieved and more people will patronize public transport more.

Real-Time Updates

Technology made everything fast paced for modern commuters, who are incessantly looking for real-time update about their ride on their fingertips.

A report on passenger frustration revealed that 87% are upset with the lack of real-time travel information on most public transportation services. With 65% of people checking updates on their pending trips online, operators need to update their customers in real-time to keep up with the demand.

Basic information like arrival and departure times are what these passengers need in real-time while notification about any travel details should be relayed to people ahead of time via electronic billboards or mobile apps.

In the United Kingdom, applications like the iShoogle, Next Bus UK, Traveline and Masabi help passengers get to their destinations on time, shows them live departures, and delay notifications in real time. By adopting these types of technologies, operators can now increase their customers’ overall satisfaction and organisation revenue.

At the end of the day, passengers will always expect better service because they’re paying for it. Although, they understand that operators cannot control natural calamities, commuters want to be always informed about anything and everything about their trips. If they need to ask customer service, they expect them to answer their questions properly. Also, since mobile technology has become an indispensable part of our daily lives, it’s high-time for companies to arm their staff with these technologies, to give passengers the service that they truly deserve.