Northern introduce ticket machine app to defend against fare evaders
Northern have introduced a new app that will help staff to check the status of self-service ticket machines on the network.
Northern has armed its conductors and revenue protection staff with new technology to better defend the train operator against one of the most common excuses given by fare-evaders for travelling without a ticket. Staff will now be able to check the status of over 600 self-service ticket machines on the network via an app, helping to combat the go to explanation for those unable to present a valid ticket for travel.
The app, which can show staff if a machine is active and issuing tickets, will be a crucial tool in Northern’s use of penalty fares as it seeks to minimise fare evasion across its nearly 2,000 services a day.
“Self-service ticket machines are a key part of our infrastructure that ensures customers can always buy a ticket before they travel,” Mark Powles, Customer and Commercial Director, said. “They have, however, been a convenient scapegoat when people are challenged as to why they don’t have a valid ticket for travel. Until now, our frontline staff have been in a difficult position when faced with this excuse, as without being able to check, there was always the possibility a machine somewhere on the network was out of action. Now, our colleagues will be able to ‘fact check’ the status of the machine in question and issue a penalty fare if appropriate.”
The news comes as Northern has introduced a ‘Quick Buy’ feature on its ticket vending machines following customer feedback, which has halved the number of steps required to purchase a ticket. The ‘Quick Buy’ feature also shows customers the next train due and gives a countdown which helps customers determine if they have time to catch the train from when they buy the ticket.
More than 240,000 customers use Northern’s ticket vending machines every four weeks, and they are just one of the ways Northern is making it easier for customers to buy tickets, with digital tickets available for all journeys via their website and app, as well as over the counter at staffed stations.