txt2go fast mobile tickets claimed a UK first


From 7 January 2008, bus passengers travelling with bus operator, Go North East will be the first in the country to be able to order and receive their bus tickets by mobile phone.

The service has been developed by Go North East in partnership  with international IT services company, Atos Origin and mobile ticketing specialists, Swiftpass.

Called  txt2go, passengers  will  be  able  to receive a digital ticket direct to  their mobile phone just minutes after ordering it by text. The phone  screen displaying the ticket information is then shown to the driver as the passenger gets on the bus.

The cashless, paperless ticket can be ordered any time, anywhere by sending a simple  text  to  60060  and is so fast tickets can even be bought while waiting for your bus to arrive.

Tickets  received  digitally  remove the need to carry cash, making it safe and  dependable  for passengers and improving security on buses by reducing the amount of money carried by the driver.

The new tickets are also very secure with each one locked to the handset it was  ordered  from  so  they cannot be transferred to another phone.  Coded information within the digital ticket will also reduce attempts at forgery.

To  use  txt2go, customers first set up an on-line account using Go North East¹s secure website.  Money is then added to the account using a debit or credit  card  and the cost of each txt2go ticket will then automatically be taken from the account.

The  account  can  be  kept topped up either through the online account, by text  to  the  txt2go  60060  number  or  the  account  can  be set up to automatically top up when funds reach a certain level.

When  txt2go  is introduced, customers will be able to buy single and day tickets  for  adults  and  children,  but more ticket choices and even more advanced  ticketing  could  be introduced if the scheme proves popular with passengers, including bar-code scanners on buses.

Martin  Harris,  Commercial  Director  with Go North East said, "This is an exciting step forward in making bus travel even more convenient and we want to  find out whether passengers feel comfortable with this method of buying tickets. As people come to rely more and more on communicating by mobile phone  and  computer,  it is the ideal way to offer tickets for bus travel. Buying  tickets  in advance speeds up the time it takes people to board our buses and helps us run a smooth, efficient service."

The technology implementation, led by Atos Origin, is the first UK roll-out of the Mobile Payment Solution developed by Atos Worldline, an Atos Origin company and major European player in the processing of high-volume electronic transactions, and the Swiftpass ticketing service. The solution allows Go North East to capitalise on the ubiquity of the mobile phone by providing an interface that turns the device into a secure, convenient and easy-to-use payment method.

Tony  Lacy,  Head of Bus and Rail at Atos Origin said, "We are delighted to see  Go North East embracing technology to improve the passenger experience and  their own operational  efficiency. Mobile  technology now offers a competitively  priced  alternative  to  paper  tickets,  whether  it be for travel, cinema, theatre or a night club."

Jeff  Berry, Managing Director of UK-based Swiftpass said, "The concept of sending  digital tickets to mobile phones is not new, however the high cost of  billing  through  mobile  phone  operators in the UK ­ up to 40% of the transaction ­ has been a significant barrier to it being adopted on a large scale.

"To make this available to  people requires partnership between forward thinking organisations  like  Go  North  East,  Atos Origin and Swiftpass. Together we can create a total end to end solution for the customer."