Following a trial with 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,” he says.

“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 while 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, while reducing their cost base.”