NEW FORMS OF INTELLIGENCE
TWO NEW APPS, MULTIPLE AWARDS
In 2016, Fribourg’s public transport company, TPF picked up awards at “Best of Swiss Apps” and “Meilleur du Web” for its two new applications, Houston and FAIRTIQ (see photograph). The latter was developed in partnership with web agency Liip, Schucan Management, the canton of Lucerne’s public transport operator and the Rhaetian Railways. FAIRTIQ builds on TPF’s existing efforts to make it easier for travelers who seldom use public transport to purchase tickets. “Following the success of our SMS ticket service and our first smartphone application, we decided to go one step further”, explains Helmut Eichhorn, Sales Director with TPF. Thanks to FAIRTIQ, users no longer need to familiarize themselves with the different fare zones before buying their ticket. They simply download the app on to their smart phones, click on the start button once they are on board, and then click on the stop button when they get off. “The system does the rest: it identifies the route taken, calculates the appropriate fare, and debits the amount directly from the user’s account.”
It is not surprising that other public transport operators in Switzerland have shown an interest in this technology. “Several new fare zone communities are set to come on board in 2017.” The Houston application, which was also developed in partnership with Liip and Schucan Management, is a more flexible and less expensive alternative to the old radio network system which TPF drivers and the control center previously used to communicate with each other. “We decided to leverage the excellent coverage that we already had”, explains Grégoire Ramuz, head of IT with TPF. Houston uses VoIP (a technology similar to the technology behind Skype) and offers a number of very specific functionalities. For example, calls are entirely hands-free and, thanks to geolocation software, can be targeted specifically at other vehicles in the vicinity. “We are the first public transport operator in Switzerland to adopt this kind of technology”, adds Ramuz.