“txt2go – fast mobile tickets are a UK first”

7 January 2008

bus passengers travelling with bus operator, Go North East will be the first in the country to be able to order and receive their bus tickets by mobile phone.

The modern twist on bus tickets has been developed by Go North East in partnership with international IT services company, Atos Origin and mobile ticketing specialists, Swiftpass.

Called ‘txt2go', passengers will be able to receive a digital ticket direct to their mobile phone just minutes after ordering it by text. The phone screen displaying the ticket information is then shown to the driver as the passenger gets on the bus.

The cashless, paperless ticket can be ordered any time, anywhere by sending a simple text to 60060 and is so fast tickets can even be bought while waiting for your bus to arrive.

Tickets received digitally remove the need to carry cash, making it safe and dependable for passengers and improving security on buses by reducing the amount of money carried by the driver.

The new tickets are also very secure with each one locked to the handset it was ordered from so they cannot be transferred to another phone. Coded information within the digital ticket will also reduce attempts at forgery.

To use ‘txt2go', customers first set up an on-line account using Go North East's secure website. Money is then added to the account using a debit or credit card and the cost of each txt2go ticket will then automatically be taken from the account.

The account can be kept topped up either through the online account, by text to the ‘txt2go' 60060 number or the account can be set up to automatically top up when funds reach a certain level.
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When ‘txt2go' is introduced, customers will be able to buy single and day tickets for adults and children, but more ticket choices and even more advanced ticketing could be introduced if the scheme proves popular with passengers, including bar-code scanners on buses.

Martin Harris, Commercial Director with Go North East said, “This is an exciting step forward in making bus travel even more convenient and we want to find out whether passengers feel comfortable with this method of buying tickets . As people come to rely more and more on communicating by mobile phone and computer, it is the ideal way to offer tickets for bus travel. Buying tickets in advance speeds up the time it takes people to board our buses and helps us run a smooth, efficient service.”

The technology implementation, led by Atos Origin, is the first UK roll-out of the Mobile Payment Solution developed by Atos Worldline, an Atos Origin company and major European player in the processing of high-volume electronic transactions, and the Swiftpass ticketing service. The solution allows Go North East to capitalise on the ubiquity of the mobile phone by providing an interface that turns the device into a secure, convenient and easy-to-use payment method.

Tony Lacy, Head of Bus and Rail at Atos Origin said, “We are delighted to see Go North East embracing technology to improve the passenger experience and their own operational efficiency. Mobile technology now offers a competitively priced alternative to paper tickets, whether it be for travel, cinema, theatre or a night club.”

Jeff Berry, Managing Director of UK-based Swiftpass said, “ The concept of sending digital tickets to mobile phones is not new, however the high cost of billing through mobile phone operators in the UK – up to 40% of the transaction – has been a significant barrier to it being adopted on a large scale.

“To make this available to people requires partnership between forward thinking organisations like Go North East, Atos Origin and Swiftpass. Together we can create a total end to end solution for the customer.”

About Go North East
Go North East is the largest bus company in the North East region. Part of the Go Ahead Group, the company carries our more than 73 million bus journeys every year on a fleet of more than 600 buses running on scheduled routes covering 36million miles. For more information, please contact Iris Boyd, PR Manager, Go North East on 0191 422 9217, e-mail iris.boyd@gonortheast.co.uk

About Swiftpass
Founded in 2004, Swiftpass is a leading worldwide provider of mobile ticketing solutions to sectors including sport, travel and entertainment. Its headquarters are based in Ashton Gate, Bristol. For more information please contact Matt Wooldridge or Karen White on 0117 9073400, matt@jbp.co.uk / karen@jbp.co.uk

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services company. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations. The company's annual revenues are EUR 5.4 billion and it employs 50,000 people in 40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is quoted on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, Atos Euronext Market Solutions, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.

Atos Worldline, an Atos Origin company
Atos Worldline is a major European player in the processing of high-volume electronic transactions. It specialises in end-to-end payment services including issuing, acquiring and developing payment technology solutions; card processing; CRM and eServices (internet, voice and mobile services). With the focus on technological innovation, Atos Worldline implements its solutions in processing or integration mode.

The acquisition and integration of Banksys and Bank Card Company in December 2006 into Atos Worldline has created a European leader in Payment Services, with combined pro forma 2006 revenues of EUR 630 million and 4,000 employees.