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Metric - London Bus Project

In Central London Roadside Ticket Machines have been installed at a large number of bus stops to enable passengers to buy their tickets before boarding. In this area the bus drivers cannot issue tickets on-bus; passengers must "Pay before boarding". A further large number of machines have been installed on other feeder routes in the city.
Metric London Bus Project Banner.jpgThe installation of Roadside Ticket Machines has run alongside the introduction of the Bendy-Bus; new vehicles designed to replace the ageing 'Routemaster'. These new vehicles can carry up to 140 passengers. To allow large numbers of people to board quickly passengers using these vehicles must have pre-purchased their ticket.

In London the on-bus ticket vending system is going to be replaced by stationary ticket machines which are going to be set up at bus stops. The ticket machines will be installed at bus stops on key routes, some of which are being converted to articulated bus operation to cope with rapidly increasing patronage. This will allow fares to be collected prior to boarding the bus enabling faster and more efficient running of London's bus services.

Metric provides LBSL with all machines, maintenance, 'helpline' service and cash collection. Essentially Metric has been a one-stop shop for this project. All machines are capable of self-diagnoses; in the event of a fault a machine will contact the Metric server via the GSM system; the server alerts the duty engineer/s using an SMS message.

Why Metric was Chosen for the capital's congestion charging scheme

Mertric Bus project 1.jpgEver since February 17, 2003, all eyes have been on London. The world has been monitoring the progress of the capital's historic congestion charging.

In the full glare of publicity, the introduction went very smoothly and it has been 'so far so good' for all concerned with congestion charging in central London.

In 2001 Metric was invited to support the bid of Capita Business Services to operate central London congestion charging.

Bill Laurie, Sales Director of Metric takes up the story:
"We went to many meetings with representatives of Capita and Transport for London who run the congestion charging scheme. Capita selected Metric as an integral link in the payment process, providing a convenient way for drivers to pay the charge. The ease with which they can pay was vital and was one of the key reasons why the winning bid was chosen".

Metric's actual development work began in early 2002 with the software for a new keypad and a credit card wall mounted cabinet. Metric adapted its state of the art Accent ticket machine to take alpha numeric characters, as the whole of the vehicle registration plate had to be entered into the ticket vending machine and recorded.

All 101 Metric ticket vending machines, which will only accept credit and debit cards, are sited in many major car parks and hospital car parks within the charging zone as well as in the motorway services on the M25. The machines are on-line to validate credit/debit cards through Credit Call Communications, before a receipt for payment is issued. The whole scheme revolves around drivers, who are paying to register their vehicle number plate on a database, for journeys within the charging zone. Cameras record number plates as drivers enter or drive within the charging zone, which are then checked against the database.

Bill Laurie continues, "As our machines will only accept credit cards, we have to abide by the Apac committee regulations for unattended terminals, as well as the Data Protection Act so that users know their personal details are safe. The ticket vending machines also give a receipt which discloses details of the transaction and also has it's own unique number".

Should a motorist make an error when entering details, Metric's specially developed keypad enables them to back space or cancel a transaction prior to pressing the 'accept' button and start again. The machin also displays graphics which help to lead the motorist through the various stages including which buttons to press to make the required payment. Motorists who use 'invalid' credit or debit cards will find their card is declared 'invalid' on the machine's display and the transaction will be automatically aborted.

All the machines are on-line to Metric's call centre, providing real time details on the machine. If a machine needs attention or goes out of service, a central computer will automatically telephone for help through the message pagers of Metric's team of service engineers covering the London area.

Metric already has more than 7,000 machines which control on-street parking in London. However unlike these traditional machines, the London congestion charging ticket vending machines are easy to recognise by their distinctive logo and lettering style.
Metric Group Limited
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