Buying train tickets. A process improvement opportunity

Some years ago CP has introduced an innovation in customer services through the provision of electronic tickets.

The sale of train tickets still proceeds in a similar way to bus tickets purchase. People usually arrive at the station around the time of departure, buy a ticket and board.

The trains running between Oporto and Lisbon (the two main Portuguese cities) do not always have tickets availability when train departs, which require in the past purchasing the ticket at the station in advance, causing inconvenience. Before this service was introduced, it was possible to buy tickets at ATMs, however there were some operational restrictions between systems integration that were causing disturbances in operation.

With the adoption of electronic tickets, the flow of passengers at stations decreases and therefore can reduce staff.

The process of issuing an electronic ticket is simple, intuitive and fast. On the other hand, when there are strikes or maintenance work on railway lines which changes schedule, the site limits the buying options regarding the existing restrictions.

Everything works perfectly if you do not need to change the ticket (keep reading after images).

This is the form you can use to chose the seat you want to travel. is this case you can see two different trips. The seats with a power plug indicates that you can connect you laptop.

After you pay the tickets, you can save it in PDF. A copy is sent to your e-mail, and a confirmation SMS to your mobile phone. Great.

This is the electronic ticket. Cute. Don't forget to print it.

Imagine a meeting ended early and you need to catch a train other than the one chosen. If you want to exchange the ticket on-line, you cannot do it!

For that you must ensure the ticket printed on paper. Exactly. Although the ticket will be sent in PDF to your e-mail, you must physically have the ticket in your hand. This operation is possible in stations which provide customer support and are operating, otherwise, forget it, no longer can exchange the ticket (unless you have a portable printer).

After being fitted with the paper ticket you need to run to a kiosk. Here comes the ridiculous part. The system that the operator uses, cannot provide the place you want to travel (unlike what happens in the on-line system). The ticket is issued randomly. This is important because:
  • Some people do not like to travel seated in the opposite movement direction.
  • There are people who need to work with the laptop and not all places have a power socket. If your computer has a faulty battery, hardly you can work.
  • Some customers do not like to stay near the bar or the bathroom.
When the CP is going to fix it?


Ligurio disse…
One last word: to travel you don't need a ticket printed copy.

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