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5 standards to make modern rail workAs you may have heard, here at SilverRail we are powering the renaissance of rail. We see the potential that rail has to dominate short and medium haul travel. But, we also recognise that in order for the industry to rise to the challenge we must overcome one small hitch; the customer experience for rail tickets is broken. Rail travel data is a fragmented, siloed, duplicated, disorganised, inconvenient and an expensive mess.

However, if we, as an industry, can unite around five simple standards, a smooth, scalable and fast customer experience can be achieved.

Our latest infographic highlights the complexity currently faced by consumers and what steps we believe the rail industry needs to take to unlock rail’s potential, and bring it into the 21st century.

To outline exactly why we think rail has a customer experience problem, and how we can solve it, here is some of the key data behind our thinking and our infographic:

  • There are 47 times more rail stations than commercial airports in the UK, yet no universal station codes. Confusing? We think so. By implementing a new, common language for global rail we can standardise station names and simplify protocol and ease the buying process.
  • It is estimated that 1.3 billion Europeans travelled by long distance rail in 2015. Cross border travel is increasing and it’s time we make it easy for anyone, anywhere, to plan, manage and book a journey. A common method for indexing journeys will ensure that no matter where the journey is to or from, planning is streamlined.
  • Rail is growing exponentially. It is predicted that train passenger volume will increase by 200-300% in the next 34 years. Not to mention the market share growth from the introduction of faster and more frequent high-speed trains, reducing key city-to-city journey times to less than 2.5 hours; which is seeing demand for rail jump to 80%. Yet train operating companies still can’t track a train’s exact location at any given time on a journey. How are they supposed to meet this demand and create a sound customer experience if their data isn’t 100% accurate? Creating a comprehensive inventory, rigorous in it’s accuracy, means that customer data and relationships can be managed with precision.
  • Currently 63% of rail is booked offline across the seven major European networks, and yet 45% of Google’s rail queries are made on a mobile device. As the world becomes smaller, and as more and more of us are living on-the-go, there has never been such critical demand for a more modern infrastructure. One that will allow the industry to offer live booking anytime, anyplace and anywhere, as well as offering the customer an instant and accurate view of end-to-end routing and pricing options.
  • Today, the UK has over 100 different ticket types, whilst Sweden has around 50 and Spain 38. We see this as a major barrier to rail – overcomplicating the ticketing process for travellers. Introducing one ticket to rule over all will create a seamless and convenient solution, so that a customer can use one ticket that represents the entire journey, regardless of how many carriers are involved and whether the ticket is paper or electronic.

It’s time to apply the standards that have already been applied elsewhere to make rail a viable option for travellers today, and we think our infographic shows the extent of the challenge ahead. Our mission is to drive these changes so that rail can address the complexity and fragmentation that it is suffering from. Together, we have an opportunity to spearhead the renaissance of rail – now is the time to make change happen.

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