With a fleet of more than 4,000 buses equipped with the UK's leading on-vehicle ticketing technology and its own HOPS back office system, Arriva UK Bus is certainly at the forefront of Britain's smart media revolution. Its partnership with leading fare collection technology company Parkeon means that from north to south and east to west, Arriva is driving the vision of an integrated transport network, fully exploiting the benefits of ITSO architecture and smarter payment methods.
Parkeon is the preferred provider of on-vehicle ticketing technology for Arriva UK Bus and the future-proof nature of its architecture makes it the ideal partner for automatic fare collection innovation.
The most recent Arriva operator to invest in Parkeon technology is Arriva North West and Wales, which will be one of the 'smartest' in the country when it leverages the power of the Wayfarer200 ticketing platform to work across five regions - Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, Lancashire and Greater Manchester.
The scheme follows on from numerous other Parkeon ticketing schemes in progress with Arriva UK Bus, including roll-outs for Arriva Midlands, Arriva Yorkshire, Arriva Southern Counties, Arriva North East and Arriva The Shires.
"ITSO is a core element in our ticketing strategy," says Mike Woodhouse, Marketing Manager at Arriva UK Bus. "It is key to many of our future plans since it has the potential to realise the vision of an integrated public transport network.
"We value the expertise of partners, such as Parkeon, who have invested hugely in the underlying architecture that delivers the benefits of ITSO to operators and their customers"
In addition to supporting ITSO enabled smart cards, Arriva is leading the way in mobile ticketing, with more than 2 Million journeys already made using m-tickets, and is evaluating next generation developments in areas such as NFC communication and EMV payments, both of which are already enabled through the Wayfarer200 on-board ticket console.
NFC standards enable smartphones and similar devices to communicate with each other through near-field communication...and bus travel is an obvious application for the technology. EMV enables small cash payments to be made instantly through bank cards without using chip and pin.
"Despite our achievements so far, Arriva is not sitting still when it comes to improving our service," says Mike Woodhouse.
"The next 12 months will see Arriva continue to lead the industry in innovation and customer service, as we reveal a number of new developments. Our view is that m-commerce will explode in the coming years and Arriva will be well positioned to offer the associated benefits to our customers, who will then have a range of payment options, ranging from mobile phones, contactless cards and cash, so our customers can choose which is best suited for them."
Owen Griffith, Managing Director of Parkeon Transit, comments: "With ITSO-enabled smartcards in wide circulation and the potential for significant innovation in mobile ticketing, our focus is very much on helping bus operators deliver on their promises to their customers, who expect travel to be easy and, literally, at their fingertips."
Parkeon's Wayfarer200 is the fourth generation Wayfarer technology adopted by Arriva since the early 1980s