By Sarah Chambers
Monday, November 26, 2012
AN IT firm is celebrating after winning a five-year contract to create and manage a self service ticket collection system for rail passengers.
Ipswich-based Smart421 will design, build and run the new cloud-based Live Sales Management system for Rail Settlement Plan Ltd (RSP).
The system, which is set to cut costs and increase productivity for rail franchises, will also provide a foundation for other channels for delivering tickets such as mobiles and smartcards.
At the moment, the ‘Ticket on Departure’ service handles ticket sales totalling £1.8billion a year.
Smart421 managing director Neil Miles said winning the bid was recognition of the firm’s ability to deliver innovative solutions to support the demands of a 21st century regulated retail business.
“Rail ticketing demand goes through seasonal and daily peaks and troughs, which makes it a great use case for cloud computing,” he said.
“I am extremely pleased to bring our full expertise to RSP on this important IT system.”
Work on the 13-month development phase starts next month and will be followed by a five year 24/7 support service.
The system will enable train operating companies to support large fluctuations in ticket demand during peak periods.
Using cloud services means it can scale up to a billion tickets a year by 2018 without the need for capital investment in more computer hardware.
It can also be upgraded to support future generations of ticketing technology which will enable train operators to cut costs and be more productive when issuing passenger tickets.
Smart421 will be using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the cloud computing platform to deliver support for functions such as deferred ticket delivery.
RSP boss Steve Howes said: “Smart421 has demonstrated its capabilities and credentials to our total satisfaction and their tender represents excellent value for money.”
The project, which will be watched carefully because of its importance to rail operators, will deliver high quality service at reasonable cost which was good news for all industry stakeholders, he added.