As our last blog was a while ago and since then we have had lots of top-notch people join the Ticketer team, it’s been a difficult task to know who to chat to first.
So, in this the second instalment of our blog series we will be talking all things passenger related with Sheryll Ricketts, Head of Passenger Solutions.
1. Sheryll, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role within Ticketer?
I am a mummy to two very perfect (when they are not fighting) and lively girls, a closet geek, a retired software engineer, a Scot living in England (going on 14 years now!) and I have been part of the very special Ticketer family for 10 months now.
I fell into Transport by accident 15 years ago when I joined a technology company specialising in smart ticketing and I haven’t looked back since. To deliver solutions that genuinely impact people’s everyday lives is a privilege and one that I am very lucky to be able to continue at Ticketer.
My role is to build solutions which showcase the smart technology and data engines built for our operators and present it to passengers in a way that can make bus travel easy and accessible. Our first foray into the passenger world is to launch a new passenger facing app which all our operators can be part of, delivering mTicketing, real-time information and even live bus views to passengers across the country.
2. How did you start your journey with Ticketer?
My journey started with Ticketer about two years before my actual start date, when I met with John Clarfelt at a sales meeting. There are times in your life when you will look back and see a moment which shapes your future. A coffee and a chat with John had that effect on me and I could immediately see why Ticketer stood out from the crowd. I am delighted to say that the time was right two years later to join the Ticketer adventure and it has been an exciting whirlwind ever since.
3. What was it about Ticketer that caught your interest?
It is rare to find a company which has grown as quickly as Ticketer but that still has its people and its integrity at the heart of everything it does. Not to mention that they do things a little differently – ducks and spacemen is all that need be said there! Ticketer is like my company soul mate.
4. Passengers are the driving force of the public transport industry, what challenges do they face and what are their expectations?
Our population is growing faster than infrastructure can be built to sustain it. Climate change is a mainstream concern with people looking for more sustainable and clean ways to travel. On top of that, the transport world is saturated with companies and technology attempting to shift travel behaviour away from private vehicles and onto sustainable or shared transport services.
With so much change and so many options, it is a confusing time to be a passenger.
Public transport services that meet the needs of today’s passenger are needed, now more than ever, and in some cases, they are already here. We just need to do a better job of making people aware of them.
5. How are Operators and Ticketer managing these expectations?
It is wonderful to see so much progress in the bus industry towards improving passenger information and experience. Over the past few years, there has been significant investment from operators and government alike to provide passengers with better visibility of services, real-time information, flexible ticket options and support for a variety of ways to pay, to address the needs of as many passengers as possible.
Ticketer has continued to work with our operators to make these ambitions reality.
The huge success of contactless ticketing across the country shows the impact that offering a convenient and frictionless way to pay can have on changing travel behaviour. Many Ticketer operators saw initial uptake rates which far exceeded their expectations and, in several cases, allowed them to compete with much larger operators in their area.
The latest Tap On / Tap Off (TOTO) rollouts with our Ticketer Electronic Ticketing Machines (ETMs) and Tap On Readers are building further on the passenger experience by combining convenient payment mechanisms with best value fares. To date, the volumes of transactions have also surpassed expectations with contactless retail transactions even going down in favour of best value capped fares through the TOTO scheme.
Our new passenger app is being put in the hands of the passenger to provide visibility of these services and initiatives across all of our operators, making the passengers options clear, from a single location. It is also a platform to help us to address the needs of those passengers who can’t make the most of the benefits offered by contactless and TOTO payment options by offering access to pre-paid tickets and eventually, post-pay capped ticketing, without the use of a bank card.
6. We see that Ticketer’s passenger information app has gone through a rebrand, can you explain why?
Our app has not just gone through a re-brand, it has been completely rebuilt.
Our first venture into the passenger world was through our original app, Ziptrip which was a fantastic base to learn from. With new funding and dedicated resource, we have been able to apply those lessons learned to build something completely new, from the ground up and delivered completely from the expertise and systems of the Ticketer team. We can now ensure that it will evolve and grow, just like our other Ticketer solutions, to continually meet the emerging needs of the passenger and our operators.
With so much change, it seemed fitting to give our new app a new identity to reflect the energy and purpose behind it. Kazoot will be launched with some very exciting (quirky) branding, which we hope will help it to stand out from the crowd and help to put buses at the heart of public transport services for a long time to come.
7. So how is Kazoot different and what can passengers expect from the app?
Kazoot is the first multi-operator passenger app where passengers can see what the operator sees, plan their journey and buy their ticket to travel. There is no need to download multiple apps to get from A to B or be confused by ticket choices.
The real beauty of Kazoot is that it enables operators to work together to collectively compete against other forms of transport, promoting bus use in general. It will complement existing operator apps and brands to help attract new passengers to our bus network, helping to break down the barriers to using public transport and inspire more people to get out of their cars and taxis and onto buses, whilst giving our operators access to the passenger data to nurture that relationship. Kazoot is the tool that will instantly show passengers that bus travel can be accessible, visible and convenient, building passenger loyalty.
8. Will the App be able to support payments, such as mTicketing?
Kazoot will be launched with mTicket retail for all participating operators. All standard payment options will be accepted including GPay, Apple Pay and standard debit and credit card payments. mTicketing is available to all of our operators with no cost to setup or manage, all of which can be done through their Ticketer Portal. The only cost is a small commission for each mTicket sold which is inclusive of all costs including the payment services and acquiring fees.
9. What can we expect from Ticketer and Kazoot next?
The main thing I can say is to expect the unexpected. We will be looking at adding new and innovative payment mechanisms and ticketing technologies to follow later in the year to make passengers lives even easier. Watch this space…
10. And finally, if you could sit next to anyone on a bus, who would it be?
Oh, it would have to be Jacinda Ardern and I would hope it would be a nice long journey.