Global award for Stansted Airport rail station’s Virtual Ticket Office innovation

by Paul Markham | Nov 15, 2016
Stansted Airport rail station’s Virtual Ticket Office has been named “Best Product/Innovation of the Year” at the Global AirRail Alliance Conference.

The ‘NextAgent’ Virtual Ticket Office, combines a virtual walk-up ticket office, a ticket vending machine and a video-linked call centre. NextAgent operators can remotely answer customer questions, provide advice about best fares and reassure passengers about their onward travel.

Customer reviews conducted by a third-party research firm are extremely positive and indicate:

  • A third of the respondents stated that NextAgent would increase the likelihood of them using trains as the ongoing mode of transport to their end destination – perfectly highlighting the link between air and rail travel.
  • 91 percent of users said they’re likely to use NextAgent again when flying to/from Stansted.
  • 93 percent of users said NextAgent was either better or the same as using a staffed ticket office window.
  • 97 percent of users reported a positive experience using a virtual ticketing office like NextAgent.

In October 2015, Cubic and Abellio Group partnered to trial NextAgent at Stansted Airport to assist Stansted Express passengers en route from plane to train and to their final destinations.

“True innovation is hard to come by, so to be recognised in this category together with Cubic brings us real pride,” said Jeremy Whitaker, head of commercial development at Abellio. “As populations grow and the needs of our passengers change, it is our job to make sure we are offering the best and most innovative solutions. Thanks to NextAgent we were able to deliver on our promise of offering an excellent customer service to passengers arriving at Stansted.”

“NextAgent received overwhelmingly positive feedback from passengers and we’re honored that its potential has also been recognized by the industry,” said Roger Crow, executive vice president and managing director for Cubic Transportation Systems Europe. “NextAgent serves as a proof point that technological solutions can go hand in hand with the all-important human contact in public transit – providing efficient, best-in-class service, while always remaining a step away from real human interaction.”

This is the third award Abellio Group and Cubic have received for NextAgent. The first win was in April 2016 for “Product Innovation of the Year” from SmartRail Europe, and the second was for ITS UK’s “Product of the Year” in July 2016.