All the hard work by the Go Ahead Group and Imaginet over the last year has paid off as they win the Excellence in Technology category at the National Transport Awards 2011 for their use of smartcard technology (the Key), which has been introduced across the company’s bus operations over the past 12 months.
The project faced stiff competition from eight other finalists including TfL’s Oyster extension, the Serco/TfL Barclays Cycle Hire scheme and Centro’s smartcard system in the West Midlands. The judges recognised the extensive activity they have undertaken across the Group to implement the Key and the way in which their implementation of their smartcard has contributed to the growing acceptance of ITSO technology. ITSO is a Government-backed, non-profit organisation which defines and develops the UK-wide technical specification for smart ticketing with the aim of making rail and bus travel throughout the UK seamless and hassle-free.
What is the Key?
The Key is a smartcard ticketing system through which tickets can be bought online, over the phone or at travel centres and stored on your Key (smartcard). It removes the need for a paper ticket and offers many benefits including exclusive discounts, improved security and the convenience of instant ticket top-ups; under 18’s also enjoy extra reductions in their fare prices by using the Key. The smartcard also allows integrated bus and rail ticketing and guarantees the best fare for passengers, reduces paper waste and speeds up boarding times.
Imaginet developed the smartcard web portal allowing customers to log in, buy new tickets, top up their cards and change their contact information on-line. This meant working closely with the Go Ahead Group and their other technology partners, ACT who specialise in smartcard systems and VIX for the ticketing machines, so the solution is highly complex and requires full integration with several external systems.
Working together to break new ground
Combining Go Ahead Group’s ambition and Imaginet’s technical ability through a strong working relationship has been a vital part in the success of this project. Both companies are proud to be working on something that is helping shape the way the transport industry uses technology to provide a better user experience for passengers.
Go-Ahead Group Chief Executive David Brown said:
“I am delighted that Go-Ahead has won this award. It recognises Go-Ahead’s commitment to working in partnership with our local communities and to continuing to innovate and meet the needs of our passengers. The award gives recognition to our staff’s commitment and hard work, and the fantastic teamwork shown across our bus and rail businesses.”