Hovertravel, operating the only hovercraft passenger service in Europe, is using Ticketer hand-held ETMs to link with Entee, its Oxford-based reservation system, and with the smart card ‘Solent Go’ to offer passengers the convenience of one card for all their transport needs.
Ticketer has written a bespoke interface for Hovertravel so that the hand-held ETMs used at the dockside link via 3G to their remote reservation system. When the passenger places their Solent Go card on the reader, it immediately checks if the card is valid and has enough credit, and then links to Entee in real time to add that passenger to the reservation system. A reservation number is generated and sent back to the hand-held unit, which automatically deducts the trip from the card and prints a ticket with that reservation number. If there is no space available, the hand-held does not reserve a space on the craft, issue a ticket or deduct the trip. The whole transaction is completed within between 5 and 10 seconds of first placing the card on the hand-held.
This is believed to be the first time ITSO cards are being integrated over a public mobile network with remote reservation systems in near real time.
John Clarfelt, Managing Director for Ticketer, explains the significant benefit to Hovertravel: “The operator, whatever the transport type, coach, ferry or hovercraft, can guarantee optimum loading with minimum downtime and user interface – the operator knows whether there is space for more passengers instantly.”
Hovertravel has been offering its unique transport service between Southsea and Ryde for nearly 50 years and is the first Isle of Wight ferry service to offer Solent Go – the new smart travelcard that passengers top up themselves and can use to travel all over South Hampshire on buses, ferries and now the hovercraft.
The Ticketer system was introduced during the summer to support Solent Go, with the aims of improving efficiency, revenue protection and greater integration into transport infrastructure. The installation went smoothly, with initial challenges from the unique application quickly resolved, and Ticketer also provided training for Hovertravel staff.
Julie Horrocks, Sales Development Manager, says, “Ticketer has allowed Hovertravel to take an evolutionary step into the development of smart-card ticketing and we look forward to being a part of Solent Go’s exciting plans.”