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How public transport providers can enhance the station experience

Accenture examines two key ways in which station operators and public transport providers can meet consumers’ evolving demands.

Overview

Consumers now expect to be connected when they want and wherever they are. Travel is no exception as it is a time when consumers need information the most. Often, travelers view railway stations as a necessary evil to get to their destination, rather than a pleasant place to plan their journey or spend time and money while they wait.

Railway operators and other public transport providers need to maximize the convenience and comfort for travelers to change their perception and create a seamless door-to-door journey.

View the Accenture Public Transport Survey 2013 infographic.

Background

In 2012, Accenture conducted a survey in eight countries to better understand the behavior and expectations of Western European rail passengers. With questions ranging from booking to arrival, including the overall station experience, the survey sheds light on how rail companies and other public transport providers can capitalize on the opportunities and challenges resulting from new consumer trends.

What’s clear is that consumers are demanding change, and station operators need to transform their services accordingly.

Analysis
For public transport providers, technology is a crucial enabler to meet evolving consumer demands. New revenue opportunities can make the stations more appealing while funding technology and infrastructure investments necessary to position stations as the gateway to the city.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Accenture recommends two ways for public transport providers to enhance the traveler experience:

  • Use new technologies to improve core station services: New technologies can help transform railway stations from places that passengers endure to focal points for planning and enhancing the travel experience

    • Public transport providers can use video analytics, facial recognition, interactive signage and social media to offer real-time information updates and better navigation to enhance travelers’ in-station experience.

    • Technology can also help tackle maintenance issues that can mar the travel experience

  • Maximize potential revenues from all aspects of a station’s operations: Once stations have mastered the “basics” in delivering in-station services for travelers, they can potentially spur revenue growth by improving waiting areas, creating a convenient and varied retail environment, and capturing the value of underused space and assets. For instance, space unsuitable for retail can be turned into short-term office rentals, videoconferencing facilities or health centers.