Tackling Commuter Stress: How Tech is Transforming the Transport Industry

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Posted by Bojana Lazarevska on 29 Aug, 2019

Transportation is not often thought of fondly. Certain negative connotations, such as delays, unexpected timetable changes, rail works, and detours, not to mention overcrowding, are some of the things that first come to mind when we think of transportation.

At a time when transport has such a noticeable impact on commuters’ mental health, there are certain elements service providers can improve for a smoother ride.

For example, an app can give commuters real-live updates for anything from searching for a journey, to schedule changes and delays, as well as the ability to purchase tickets with a simple click.

A Journey Toward Stress

One of the biggest contributors to stress and anxiety associated with transport is a lack of control, or a lack of transparency over issues that may cause delays or diversions.

Future Platforms: Phil

We’ve all been there; the train is delayed, the bus doesn’t come and nobody tells you what’s going on. You don’t know what to do next and it’s super stressful.

Phil Twine, Head of User Experience – Future Platforms

A report by Metro UK showed that 48% of commuters were left feeling anxious because services were unreliable and ended up impacting on other aspects of their lives. Delayed services can mean losing time with family, being disciplined at work, and additional childcare costs.

A Which? study also showed that commuter distrust of the rail industry alone had risen from 27% to 32%. This kind of distrust leads to commuters losing loyalty and looking elsewhere to fulfil their travel needs.

Where Transport Providers can Improve

Transport delays and detours are often out of our control and there aren’t always going to be ways to avoid them. Phil Twine says that transport providers can lessen this burden on travellers by improving on some key areas to make for a smoother journey:

Improving Communication

Transparency goes a long way in appeasing the public. Simply sharing information about planned or unplanned delays or detours will increase customer satisfaction, or at least ensure that commuters are as prepared as they can be.

Real-Time Information On-the-Go

More often than not, commuters become aware of a problem once they have already arrived or are en route to their chosen transportation method. Communicating with the public is one thing, but if they don’t receive information on time, it’s not going to do much good.

Commuters need to receive updates ahead of time so that they can prepare, on devices that are handy to them – this is why mobile devices remain a vital platform for the transport industry.

Providing Convenience

Commuters just want a hassle-free journey. Equipping them with the tools they need to conveniently organise every aspect of their trip from one destination creates a more simplified customer experience.

This can include anything from booking, ticket purchasing, journey planning, and journey tracking tools that can be done on an app, for example.

How Technology Can Help

Even all the way back in 2018, Travelport’s Digital Traveler Survey (DTS) outlined commuters’ continuing desires for digital solutions to their transport woes, particularly through mobile.

“Travelers want technology to continue to simplify and enhance the travel experience.”
Travelport, Global Digital Traveller Survey, 2018

Those surveyed expressed a want for new technologies, such as voice search, and online payment and ticketing, to enhance their travel experience. In an increasingly digital world, users are expecting digital solutions to their problems, and transport is no different. It’s important the transport industry stays on track and meets commuters’ expectations.

Simplified ticketing

On average, travellers use 10-12 apps throughout the searching, booking, and travelling parts of their trip. This creates a frustrating experience for users, and unnecessarily prolongs the journey booking experience.

The ability to search for travel plans, book and pay for tickets, and track your journey through one app, improves customer satisfaction and brand perception. Providing options for Apple/Android Pay, as well, reduces the need for commuters to wait in lines or print tickets.

First Group’s Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First Bus, said of their app:
“Contactless payment sees growth every week, within each of our businesses. The use of mTickets is also exceeding expectations, doubling year-on-year usage.”

Digital ticketing has created a much easier and more enjoyable travelling experience for First Bus users.

Speedier processes

We’ve already adopted biometrics in our personal and business lives; logging into our phones through Face and Touch ID, opening bank accounts with facial and voice recognition, or chatting to Siri.

It’s now time for the travel industry to take advantage of the opportunities technology presents. Biometric scanning, for example at airports, could make security queues – a common annoyance for frequent travellers – a thing of the past.

Real-time tracking

GPS tracking is commonly used in ride-sharing and food delivery apps. It works by sharing real-time updates with customers about the location of their car or order, which helps to give them greater visibility and puts them in the driver’s seat, so to speak.

Using this same technology for transport means that commuters can follow the route of their bus or train, and be kept up to date with its arrival/departure. This equips them to better plan their journey and should, hopefully, lead to less disgruntled commuters.

Future of Transport

Although transport will never be 100% fail-proof, due to uncontrollable external factors, technology can help appease commuters and improve the overall journey experience.

Giving people up-to-date information will increase their feeling of control, reduce their stress and ultimately increase their trust in a service provider.

Phil Twine

Technological solutions offer a range of business benefits; such as improving customer satisfaction, retention rates, and loyalty, while promoting efficiency through managing customer expectations and preempting any complaints.

To find out how we have helped companies like First Group improve services and increase customer satisfaction through building utility, talk to us today. At Future Platforms, we offer a free consultation to assess your unique business needs and goals – book yours today.

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