First Rail

First Rail's apps help revenue grow over 35%

First Rail's mobile solutions deliver revenue and solve common passenger frustrations in one elegant stroke.


First Rail


  • 35%growth in revenue
  • 345Mhappy passengers
  • 4.5average star rating
  • 4mobile solutions created

Who is First Rail?

First Rail is part of five segments of passenger transport services managed by FirstGroup, which is a leading provider of transport services in the UK and North America.

First Rail carries more than 345 million passengers across its four UK franchises, which include Great Western Railway, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast – and one open access passenger rail service, Hull Trains.

It’s no small feat to manage commuters that depart from the 400 stations it manages. Last year alone, First Rail oversaw the successful execution of nine billion passenger miles. To ensure a smooth journey for its passengers, each First Rail franchise has its own iOS and Android app solution, which are managed by Future Platforms.

As one of the most experienced operators in the UK, First Rail is uniquely positioned to work with partners like Future Platforms to add value and improve services for commuters. From booking your trip, planning your journey, and checking live times, First Rail influences all aspects of the passenger journey. The company has embraced technology, such as the apps, to help its quest in improving the customer experience which has driven revenue growth, year-on-year.


First Rail’s franchise apps provide faster boarding times, better data and analytics on user journeys, real-time ticket updates, and improved journey planning.

In 2019, First Rail’s revenue improved by more than 35.4 percent from the previous year. Of FirstGroup’s total yearly revenue of approximately £7.1 billion, First Rail accounted for an impressive 38 percent, with half of FirstGroup’s total sales coming from cashless ticketing provided by its apps.

Future Platforms continually improves and updates the UX and UI experience to optimise the user journey in the apps, which allow commuters to plan hassle-free journeys from one familiar device. This has resulted in an average rating of 4.5 stars for the apps.


First Rail is committed to improving the customer experience by investing in solutions its passengers want.

To do this, First Rail needed to work with a partner that has extensive experience in developing successful digital solutions for the transport sector, and that truly understands the customer journey and the main commuter frustrations.

First Rail’s main priority was to address the main request from its passengers, which was for a better ticket-purchasing process as they were finding the existing system cumbersome.

The mobile solutions developed by Future Platforms ensure that commuters can effortlessly purchase tickets and plan journeys and in doing so, it positions First Rail as a customer-centric service provider.


First Rail was looking to transition from its existing mobile development company as it wasn’t delivering the results a leading company like First Rail needed.

From research conducted on First Rail commuters, Future Platforms knew exactly what kind of solutions First Rail passengers required. The solutions delivered are:

  • Intuitive
  • Accurate and reliable
  • Consistent in look and feel
  • Personalised
  • Unique

As well as providing industry-leading features that make journey planning and booking easier and faster for commuters, Future Platforms is always on the lookout for ways to improve the app.

This includes exploring new ways of supporting customers through technology to further personalise and tailor each passenger’s journey so they can complete them in the most efficient and hassle-free ways possible.


The solutions provide users with a range of new features to streamline the ticketing process and improve the user’s travel experience, such as introducing Google Pay, Apple Pay, and PayPal, seat reservations, and service disruption push notifications.

These work to alleviate some of the common stresses that are often associated with travel, such as ticket booking, lack of visibility about journey delays or cancellations, clarity around seat allocation, and lack of communication by service providers.

In order to ensure the solutions are a success, Future Platforms maintains the apps, monitoring for spikes or issues, and building new features as required. App performance is also frequently monitored to attain statistics about the success of each app. Data and analytics provided by the apps also allows the companies to personalise journeys and perform better by knowing how many passengers are being affected by things like train delays or cancellations or lack of seats, for example.

The mobile solutions developed by Future Platforms have continually proven to be a success, with the app for each of First Rail’s operating companies being downloaded more than one million times.

The end results are continuously improving market-leading app for the UK franchises managed by First Rail. The apps provide easy and convenient mobility, and, most importantly, the apps allow commuters to effortlessly plan journeys, which keeps people and communities connected.

By alleviating common commuter frustrations and personalising each individual journey, the apps improve quality of life and loyalty with the First Rail franchises. Having happy customers, as proven by the impressive app ratings, has resulted in more journeys completed with the First Rail franchises which has increased yearly revenue for the business.