A new Ticket on Departure system for UK rail passengers built by integrator Smart421 has been commended for offering "excellent value for money" by those who commissioned it.
After beating off a range of larger SIs – including incumbent Fujitsu – to snag the deal in November 2012, Smart421 has completed architecting the cloud-based system, which is part of the Rail Settlement Plan's (RSP's) modernisation programme. A five-year, 24/7 support services phase has now kicked off.
Hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), the system will support rail users who buy their tickets online before collecting them from self-service machines – a £2bn industry annually.
Brian Jones, head of programmes at RSP – which is a constituent body of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) – said Smart421's work "represents excellent value for money".
"This project is key to modernising RSP's services over the next few years. Smart421 should be commended for its capabilities," he said.
Smart421's head of marketing, Joseph Spear, said the new 'click-and-collect' system is fundamentally different from the incumbent system.
"The system is able to scale up and down depending not only on seasonality but also the time of day," he said. "Because it is in the cloud, it is limitless. The RSP's modernisation plan required something new."
Drawing not only on AWS but also open source technology from vendors such as Red Hat and ForgeRock, the system took just over a year to create.
"A lot of stakeholders had to be satisfied, not only the train operating companies but the ticket retailers such as the thetrainline.com, who can use the system to avail themselves of a much better service," Spear said.
He added: "RSP and ATOC is a prestigious account for us because it has an impact on millions of people. We hope we are playing our part to help improve the experience for the travelling public."
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