Keolis rolls out multi-operator ticketing in Nottingham Contactless Project

Multinational public transport operator Keolis, which operates the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) tram network, has rolled out an initiative to improve passenger mobility in Nottingham. The project has been supported by INIT, NET’s ticketing provider, and smart ticketing provider TransMach.

The initiative is called the Nottingham Contactless Project and lets customers travel across Nottingham City Transport (NCT) buses, the Linkbus network, and the tram network.

It is believed to be the first such multi-operator network in the UK outside London and gives customers the best fare regardless of journey type. Tickets on the tram system are paid for by tapping ticket validators with contactless bank cards, or Apple Pay and Google Pay on a smartphone or smart watch.

Keolis employs Customer Experience Agents (CXAs) as ticket inspectors who validate contactless transactions using TransMach’s handheld TM920 machines, programmed to read ITSO smartcards and other contactless transactions with an API connection provided by INIT.

TransMach has introduced messaging services through the TM920 to improve communication between CXAs and team leaders. It describes the pop-up notifications as a “discreet alternative” to using a voice broadcast. The device also offers previously paper-based digital forms, such as car park checks and surveys.

“The main reason for selecting TransMach’s TM920 was to equip our CXAs with just one user-friendly device that was able to check all tickets and contactless transactions but also had the functionality to issue penalty fare notices (PFNs) where required. It was the ideal solution,” says Mandip Bahra, Assistant Commercial Manager, Keolis Nottingham. “Reducing administration was another major benefit, as previously our CXAs had to record all their activity on paper then transfer the data to a spreadsheet. The TM920 captures this information automatically and stores it on TransMach’s encrypted cloud-based back office.

“Not only is this a seamless system but it eliminates the possibility of entering data incorrectly and reduces our carbon footprint by not using paper.”

Adds TransMach Director Minesh Vandra: “Our mission is to save public transport operators considerable time and resources, through the benefits of technology, allowing them to focus on delivering the most efficient service.

“Being able to deliver a seamless ticket validation solution for Keolis Nottingham has been an exciting project, which has allowed TransMach to increase the capability of our TM920 mobile machines.

“As well as being compatible with all forms of payment protocol, including ITSO smart cards, travel QR codes and the latest EMV specification, we have been able to help the operator be more sustainable and cost efficient.”