Harnessing Technology in Transport for a Winning Digital Strategy

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Posted by Bojana Lazarevska on 21 Nov, 2019

Faster bus and train boarding times, better analytics, real-time ticket updates, improved journey planning…all at your fingertips.

Transportation has come a long way since implementing digital solutions to address common pain points in the industry.

For example, digital ticketing has presented multiple benefits and advantages over traditional printed tickets, and commuters are seeing the benefits. Boarding lines are shorter and an experiment by First Bus, a segment of transport company FirstGroup, showed that mobile ticketing reduces waiting time by up to 75 percent when compared to paying by cash.

FirstGroup has long supported harnessing technology in order to create smoother journeys for its passengers.

As part of its digital strategy, FirstGroup wanted to make journey planning and ticket purchasing easier for commuters. Its journey towards an enhanced transport and customer experience is what has put the group ahead of its peers, and its partnership with Future Platforms is what has made this vision a reality.

This digital improvement has been acknowledged by the 2019 UK Business Tech Awards and the Effective Mobile Marketing Awards (EMMAs), being finalists in two categories: Transport Tech Company of the Year and Most Effective Travel & Tourism Solution, respectively.

The Winning Strategy

In 2017, PwC’s Smart Ticketing Survey highlighted that there were rising customer demands for smarter ticketing solutions. FirstGroup and Future Platforms were quick to act on this demand and provide an entire journey planning and ticket purchasing, all-in-one solution for First Bus commuters.

Its First Bus app is now considered “best in class” among national bus groups, with an impressive 4.6 star rating out of five on the App Store. So, how did it get here?

The Fist Bus app

Future Platforms and FirstGroup started working together in 2017, with an objective to completely overhaul the mobile experience they were offering commuters through its First Bus segment. FirstGroup’s personal aim was to become more customer-centric and innovative, which is why the partnership formed.

We ultimately want to be brilliant at offering travel solutions to as many consumers as possible. This app helps us to fulfil that objective.

Martin Bould, CCO – FirstGroup

Future Platforms delivered a frictionless experience that guides the passenger through a seamless journey, from the first mile to the last one. Since then, Future Platforms has also begun to work on First Rail’s four apps, one to cover each of Rail’s franchises.

The endeavour to improve customers’ mobile experiences has continued, however, the companies have started building additional improvements and introducing more emerging technologies, such as the use of chatbots.

It is because of these efforts to improve and enhance the customer experience which positions FirstGroup and Future Platforms as leaders in transport digital transformation.

We’re glad to work with FirstGroup to push the boundaries of technological transformation and harness the power of emerging tech to improve commuters’ transport experience. Our transparent and strong partnership has helped to position FirstGroup as a digital leader in its industry!

Claire Vallez, Senior Project Manager – Future Platforms


The Project Specifics

With smartphones being our primary device of choice, it was clear that for FirstGroup, an all-in-one app was an essential tool.

The company already had an existing app for journey planning, however, users were required to download an additional app to purchase tickets, which caused a point of friction. The development of a new app by the Future Platforms team, which provides a one-app solution, puts control back in commuters’ hands.

To get the nitty-gritty details of FirstGroup’s winning digital strategy, read more about the Future Platforms solution.

If you’re interested in hearing about our framework for creating a successful digital strategy for your business, book a free consultation with our team today. 


Get in touch with Future Platforms