Ticketing specialist launches real-time vehicle tracking system

Enhancing the passenger experience to boost bus patronage is our top priority says TransMach

A mission to bring passengers back to buses by harnessing cloud-based technology to improve convenience and journey planning has helped operators to turn a corner, according to contactless ticketing and travel software specialist, TransMach.

Following a six-month trial with selected customers in the UK and Ireland, London-based TransMach has officially launched the bus industry’s most sophisticated ticket machine-enabled vehicle tracking system, which has seen passenger numbers increase by as much as 10%.
Developed in-house, TransMach’s ‘Bus Tracker’ utilises the company’s 4G Android ticket machines to pin-point a bus’s precise location via cutting-edge GPS software, making it the most accurate in the industry.

As part of its service package to operators, TransMach is making its ‘Bus Tracker’ available to customers free of charge, to assist with their recovery from the effects of the pandemic,. A website ‘plug-in’, that is branded for each operator, allows passengers to track bus services in real-time, showing expected arrival times at each stop. As a result, telephone and social media enquiries are reduced, thereby saving operators time and resources.

Following the government’s introduction of the Bus Open Data Service (BODS) for live vehicle location, basic fares and ticket data in January 2021, which covers all local services in England, many operators have struggled with the challenges of providing this legally required data, according to TransMach director, Minesh Vandra.

“Our experience suggests that the majority of smaller, regional operators, many of which are family-owned businesses, still use older generation ticketing machines. This means that BODS data has to be processed manually, which is very labour intensive and not economically sustainable.

“TransMach works closely with provincial bus companies to upgrade them to a cloud-based system, which ticks all the boxes regarding contactless payment compatibility, BODS compliance, driver shift allocation, vehicle mileage and occupancy rates. We’ve seen customers boost passenger numbers by more than 10% after moving to this technology.”

“Our ‘Bus Tracker’ module is unique to the UK market and its capability saves operators considerable time and resources, allowing them to focus on delivering the most efficient service. TransMach’s contactless ticket machines are also helpful when it comes to securing Bus Service Operator Grants (BSOG) from local authorities, as they are compatible with all forms of contactless payment protocol, including ITSO smart cards, travel QR codes and the latest EMV specification.”

In addition, the TransMach Cloud mobile app enables managers to run their operations whilst on the move. A smartphone dashboard provides live ticket revenue and enables two-way messaging with drivers, via the onboard ticket machine.

Minesh Vandra concludes:

“For many operators, the impact of Covid-19 has meant that the person owning the business has often needed to drive a bus themselves. TransMach’s team will continue to support our colleagues across the industry with innovative ways of improving efficiency, whilst reducing their cost base.”

About TransMach

Established in 2011,TransMach is a leading contactless ticketing and travel software supplier to more than 300 public transport operators across the UK and Europe, covering mainstream bus services, inter-town coach and tram operations, as well as commuter, school and demand-responsive services.

TransMach offers cost-efficient, ITSO and BODS compliant, contactless ticketing solutions, which include its latest TM500 On-bus and TM920 mobile ticket machines. TransMach supports customers with a cloud-based back-office system, online ticket booking engine, as well as the development of bespoke smartcards and mobile ticket Apps. TransMach also offers customers a full range of ticketing consumables and an in-house machine repair service.