COVID-19 – IT solutions provide support

Maintain the distance. Provide Security. Save costs.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents many unforeseen challenges for public transport providers. Vehicle occupancy levels have declined dramatically, leading to decreased fare revenues and at the same time, it has become essential to observe social distancing guidelines. Operators must protect the health of their passengers and employees while keeping public transport running as efficiently as possible and winning back passengers that were lost during lockdown. It is during challenging times such as these that effective IT solutions can provide much needed support.

 

At INIT's first virtual User Group Meeting, Jürgen Greschner, CSO and deputy CEO, talked about INIT products that support public transport companies to deal with the aftermath of COVID-19.

Maintaining the distance – with smart ticketing

Bus drivers should be freed from the requirement to sell tickets or handle cash while passengers still need opportunities to purchase tickets. There are various ways to support social distancing and keep up sales with smart, ID-based Ticketing. One is to avoid the handling of cash with EMV payments which allow passengers to purchase tickets with regular bank and credit cards. Deploying smart ticketing allows you to keep your drivers safe and to provide a safer experience for your passengers. This might contribute to an increasing number of passengers.

 

Maintaining the distance - avoid passenger crowds

Passengers clustering on platforms or in overcrowded trains is currently a complete no-go. But also in regular times something you want to avoid, as it causes negative impacts on safety, the travel experience and boarding times. The Crowd Management System, MOBILEguide, predicts the number of free spaces in train systems based on real-time and historical data and displays the least crowded train sections, for example by light signals. In times of a pandemic, thresholds can be adjusted in order to reflect the occupancy rates the public transport provider wishes to accept under current circumstances. MOBILEguide was recently granted both an US and European Patent and can as well be used in bus service.

Maintaining the distance – make use of your APC

Avoiding overcrowded public transport vehicles will play a major role in winning back passengers. Customers with an Automatic Passenger Counting System as well as an ITCS System based on cellular radio from INIT, can now reap the benefits of an integrated solution. With a simple system extension, the occupancy rate of a bus or train can be displayed for the dispatchers. Being in the know will allow them to react quickly if vehicles are getting close to the occupancy rate the company wants to accept. In addition, this information can be fed into passenger information systems and displayed in real-time e.g. in our app DEPARTURESlive. This will allow passengers an educated decision on which bus or train they want to take. For customers with differently equipped fleets, we are currently working on an initial solution that allows for the display of occupancy rates based on historical data.

 

Maintaining the distance – while planning efficiently

To use public transport in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, passengers require a sufficient amount of free space enabling them to keep a safe distance. Step by step, schools, shops, restaurants, and many other facilities are currently re-opening – increasing the need for public transport. On the other hand, new restrictions might be imposed soon. What a challenge for the planners of timetables, blocks and duties! Now, they can benefit from the fact that INIT is able to feed occupancy rates back into the planning system and allow for an integrated scheduling of blocks and duties. The result? Blocks that are both as cost efficient and safe as possible.

Maintaining the distance – in the control center

Social distancing in the operations control center can be difficult if the available space is not sufficient to keep your staff appropriately separated. Instead of having to reduce your manpower, you may equip them with a tablet-based solution for mobile dispatching. With MOBILEmodi, they have the same access to ITCS information like their colleagues at the regular ITCS workstations, along with communications tools and some management functionalities. But other options are possible as well which would allow your employees to work in different rooms or even in their home office. Why not think creatively?

Serve reduced numbers of passengers efficiently

Still in the aftermath of COVID-19, public transport providers have to cope with reduced passenger numbers. This results in declined fare revenue while costs stay more or less the same. Many routes will not be run efficiently anymore. Particularly in suburbs or during off-peak hours. This calls for the identification of possible savings. One option is to run lines in on-demand mode. Users of an INIT ITCS can realize this functionality with a simple add-on module to their ITCS. This way, operating costs can be reduced while continuing to provide good service.

One thing you can count on in these challenging times – we stand by your side. Our top priority has always been to promote your projects and having to keep physical distance won’t loosen our commitment. You can rely on this partnership and be ensured – we continue to do our utmost, blaze new paths and still believe that the future of mobility belongs to public transport.

We would be delighted to discuss how INIT can assist you in mastering the upcoming challenges. Contact us and make an appointment!

Contact

INIT Sales Team

Phone: +49 721 6100 0
Fax: +49 721 6100 399