Stockholm's Public Transit System Into Connected Customers
Client:Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL)
- Replace costly, insecure paper-ticketing system
- Boomerang, CSC’s customer engagement management platform
- Paper tickets phased out; 5 million digital travel cards issued
- Website lets customers load value from credit cards to travel cards
- Claim and dispute-management features implemented
Getting around a big city isn’t always easy. There are routes to determine. Connections to be made. Tickets to purchase and, if lost or stolen, to replace.
The City of Stockholm, Sweden, wanted to make getting around easier and more efficient. It also wanted to turn its millions of anonymous riders into personalized customers. With CSC’s help, that’s exactly what it’s done.
Helping citizens and visitors get around the greater Stockholm area is the job of the city’s public transit agency, Storstockholms Lokaltrafik, better known by its initials, SL. It’s a big job. Stockholm is not only Sweden’s capital, but also — with some 1.4 million people — the largest city in the entire Nordic region. Every day, SL conducts some 800,000 trips across its 100 subway stations, 50 rail stations, 450 bus lines and 60 boats.
Until recently, SL’s job was also unnecessarily costly, due to an old, paper-based ticketing system. Established in the 1970s, the system was a relic of that pre-Internet, pre-mobile era. Tickets for all buses, trains and rail were printed at a central location, then shipped to SL’s retail partners and stations. If a rider lost a ticket, they had to buy another. And when tickets were stolen en route to non-SL ticket sellers — including selected retail stores — it was SL’s loss. Bus drivers were also frequent crime targets, as they had to carry cash from customers buying tickets on board.
Even when everything in the process went as planned, it could be slow. Tickets had to be manually presented to an SL ticketing agent. The agent would inspect the ticket and hand-stamp the slip of paper. The customer then had to carefully retain the verified ticket for the remainder of the journey.
So, starting in the early 2000s, SL began to augment its paper tickets with smartcards, giving riders a new choice. However, the new smartcard system did not provide links to the Internet, and customer acceptance of the new system was only lukewarm.
FROM RIDERS TO VALUED CUSTOMERS
In early 2013, SL enlisted CSC and other partners to make both the paper and smartcard tickets obsolete by converting to a completely digital travel-card system. “We wanted to get away from the manual handling of tickets,” says Stefan Torpman, operational manager for e-commerce and customer service at SL.
CSC’s contribution to the SL solution is Boomerang, the firm’s customer-relations system for public transportation. Currently used by transit agencies in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, CSC Boomerang provides a 360-degree view of customers. The software suite includes claims management, sales, billing, e-commerce and a customer- relationship management (CRM) solution. All its components have been designed to help public-transportation organizations improve customer satisfaction, grow revenue and add new routes and services.
“Everything the customer does is recorded in Boomerang,” Torpman says. “So we can see if they buy tickets, or if they have an open ticket with customer service. Every interaction is recorded.”
One challenge of the project was integrating CSC Boomerang with nine back-end systems operated by SL. These included systems for ticketing, Web hosting, billing, payment verification, travel-card manufacturing and distribution, and route timetables. The CSC team had to configure Boomerang to not only bind together these back-end services, but also provide end-to-end process support and customer self-service capabilities.
GUARANTEES FOR TRANSIT RIDERS
Today, riders of Stockholm’s public transit can buy travel cards from retailers and ticket kiosks located at bus and train stations, or order them from SL’s website. Either way, there are essentially just two steps. First, the rider loads value (money) into the travel card’s digital purse. Second, they specify what kind of ticket they want. Tickets can be purchased for a specific trip, or for a specified period of time, such as a day, a week or a month.
Riders who register their card can also enjoy two powerful features. The Loss Guarantee allows a rider to protect the value on their travel card if the card is lost or stolen. With Boomerang’s help, once a rider reports the card as missing, SL electronically blocks the original card from further use, and generates a new card, complete with the missing value.
The Travel Guarantee, also enhanced by CSC Boomerang, refunds holders of registered SL travel cards for taxi fare if their desired bus or train runs more than 20 minutes behind schedule.
SL’s job is easier, too, now that it has a full audit trail; comprehensive claims management for all services; a customer Web portal; a single application programming interface (API) to use in all presentation layers of the digital channels; and the ability to add new services quickly and easily.
A CARDLESS FUTURE?
Looking ahead, SL plans several additions to the travel card system, including complete automation of the Loss Guarantee process. Even further in the future could be a completely card-free system, which could substantially lower SL’s costs. “Our vision,” Torpman says, “is that a ticket is a cloud service.”
This means that SL buses, trains and boats would always be connected to the cloud. Instead of presenting a travel card, a rider would simply identify themselves, perhaps with their smartphone. The onboard system would then connect to a back-end ticketing system that would search the rider’s file to determine how much value they had in their account and which tickets they currently hold.
It’s a vision that Torpman admits is probably years away. But getting from Point A to Point B? That’s something SL — with help from CSC — has gotten pretty good at. “CSC is very solutions-oriented,” Torpman says. “They’re quite driven.”