Delivering the Avanti West Coast Rail App

Discover how we delivered a high-rated Avanti West Coast rail app under significant time pressure, enhancing user experience and ticketing functionality.

Client

Avanti West Coast

The client

Avanti West Coast is an integral part of the First Rail group that replaced a leading rail provider in December 2019. This partnership between FirstGroup and Trenitalia took over the West Coast Main Line in the UK. 

Since its inception, Avanti has endeavoured to provide superior passenger experiences by embracing modern technology, refurbished passenger trains, and a seamless booking system. 

 

Our brief

Avanti West Coast first contacted us to build a new version of their rail app in 2019, facing a tight launch deadline to avoid a loss of business when they took over the previous franchise. The Avanti team set its sights on refining the passenger experience by transitioning from the previous franchise model, which licensed a version of the popular rail travel booking system, to a revamped system under the First Rail app umbrella. 

The transition included a robust overhaul of the ticket purchase journey – using the First Rail app as a benchmark for seamless customer interaction and booking. Avanti inherited the associated rail app business and set the stage for continuous enhancement over time. 

Avanti’s primary objective was twofold: an overhaul of the train ticket purchasing app and integrating it under the First Rail umbrella. This included the introduction of features like enabling refunds, offering specific ticket types and updating ticket information. Collaborating closely with the Italian firm Trenitalia which had previous experience with railway apps, Avanti aimed to incorporate the PICO system into its framework, navigating away from traditional systems, like Worldline. 

 

What we delivered

Marrying railway apps with a new backend payment system presents significant technical challenges. The stateless nature of Trenitalia’s PICO meant the backend needed to construct a data core from the ground up. 

The project’s architectural challenges were magnified by the need to develop a middleware solution. With the Trenitalia office based in Italy, a bespoke development team was sent over to drill down to the bottom of the issue and overcome the challenges faced, such as language barriers and the intricate development navigation of Trenitalia’s unique system.

Our team at Future Platforms, as well as Avanti West Coast, also faced enormous time pressure. The impending end of their licensing agreement with train journey software providers and the new rail app launch made flawless execution absolutely paramount to the continued success of the rail system.

 

Key outcomes

In the face of considerable challenges, Avanti West Coast’s new rail app was successfully unveiled. By drawing on the success of the First Rail app, Avanti introduced enhanced functionalities and a superior user experience. 

Moving forward, we delivered multiple features on a project-by-project basis, creating a bespoke environment for Avanti West Coast to add notable features over time, such as enabling in-app refunds, ticket type specifics, and GA4 integration into the backend.

The culmination of these projects has positioned Avanti as a leader in customer-centric service provision. The relationship between us and Avanti West Coast promises future enhancements and continued innovation in the railway apps sector.

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