For over 90 years, the Autostradale group has been one of the leaders in Italy in public transportation. The group provides long-distance bus service as well as airport shuttle connections for operations in both Italy and England at London’s Stansted airport thanks to its subsidiary Airport Bus Express.
This widespread transportation network is present in all major hubs and it is a fundamental piece of Autostradale’s customer-oriented strategy which aims to be present where its customers are, and to consistently offer quality service and a problem-free journey.
For on-the-go ticket sales, Autostradale relied on both pre-printed paper tickets, which had to be produced, stored and distributed through a secure system, as well as on tickets printed on demand thanks to handheld devices. This system, besides having high management costs, did not provide a solid validity control system: tickets were easy to counterfeit and therefore vulnerable to possible fraudulent actions.
Furthermore, the solution used to print tickets was based on proprietary hardware devices that created dependence from the supplier which required frequent maintenance and a situation of vendor lock-in, while leading to inevitable obsolescence.
Autostradale decided to explore innovative solutions to streamline its operations and improve the entire travel experience of its customers and engaged with OpenMove in 2017. The partnership between Autostradale and OpenMove has led to the development of a software solution that can be used by all field operators in the different geographies and operating conditions they handle. It was key that the application could work both online, with real-time synchronization of data with the central server, and offline in case of poor or absent connectivity.
A 24/7 Service Level Agreement was instituted as another essential component for the transport service provided by Autostradale, which has hourly service, peak traffic several times during the day and operates nearly 24 hours a day.
Thanks to the integration via API with a third-party e-commerce channel, the solution allows not only to print paper tickets by merging all the data into a single platform, but also to validate tickets sold through the e-commerce itself, which are recognized by the app and on which the validity check is carried out.
The software application developed by OpenMove is based on the Android operating system and can be used on any Android device on the market, including off-the shelf smartphones, thus avoiding the investment in expensive hardware. The service is deployed as a cloud based service to minimize internal management costs and ensure high availability, fault tolerance, load balancing and disaster recovery of the services.
To test the system, a six-month pilot project was carried out on one of the Italian lines operated by Autostradale. The success of the project and the advantages brought forward with the new method exceeded expectations and it was decided to extend the use of the software application to all lines within the following two months.
Thanks to the new solution, Autostradale benefit from the very first month from:
Autostradale’s solution for the sale and validation of tickets for field operators has been operational for more than 5 years and, over this period, Autostradale has involved OpenMove in other initiatives aimed at improving operations and profitability.
At the beginning of 2020 OpenMove released a white label app for Autostradale, downloadable for free from the App Store and Play Store: the ticket has thus become totally digital and users can, by accessing the app, get information about timetables and select and purchase different tariffs. The QR code on the digital ticket can then be read and validated by the same application already in use among Autostradale on-field operators.
In June 2021, the QR code Express Purchase was launched: customers now have the possibility to autonomously purchase Autostradale tickets at the stops by simply framing a QR code and finalizing the payment with a single click and without having to download or sign up to any app.
These solutions have made it possible to:
- Ease the Autostradale staff in the daily peaks of customers wanting to access the service;
- Improve the speed of customers boarding as compared to the competition;
- Minimize physical exchanges between people, which became a very important factor during the pandemic.
To date, the solution has been successfully implemented both on the Italian lines managed by Autostradale as well as on the lines running in London.
Autostradale, driven by the positive trend of customers increasingly relying on electronic payments, wanted to switch to an all-in-one device for issuing, printing, validating and paying for tickets. The previous solution included smartphones with a Bluetooth printer and a separate POS device for cashing electronic payments. After a careful evaluation of the various solutions available on the market, Autostradale’s choice fell on the PAX A920 device: OpenMove therefore implemented the portability of its software application on the device, integrating with the Payment Service Provider chosen by Autostradale.
“The use of a lean and fast sales and control application, in combination with a compact device that allows the cashing of electronic payments, has allowed us to better serve our customers, while improving the operation of our staff on the field, who can now manage all operations with a single device. “
Giorgio Rendo, Sales Operations Manager Autostradale
The solution was first launched in the English airport of London Stansted – where Autostradale operates with Airport Bus Express – and, because of its success among the users, has later extended to the Italian territory.
If you want to find out more about how OpenMove can help you grow your business, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +39 0464 740009
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