Self-service drivers´ takings collection and cashless ticket issue for supplementary sale
The project was focused on two key processes of The Prague Public Transport Co. Inc. (PTC Prague). Partly on the process of handing over of cash takings and also on handing out tickets to drivers for supplementary sale. The aim was to make the processes more effective and easier, and to offer drivers better comfort, awareness of takings and availability.
- Implementation within six months
- Complete solution including supportive back-office
- Making the process easier, faster and more effective
Disadvantages of having an onsite cash register
Originally, there was a cash register workplace in each of five PTC´s garages for cash takings collection from drivers, and for issuing of books of tickets for their subsequent sale on board. For every ticket sold on board, the driver is entitled to remuneration in his salary. This process was not set up optimally, mainly for these reasons:
- The fact that the cash register is not opened for the whole operation time and is not easily accessible for drivers makes the process complicated both organizationally and from the personnel point of view.
- Handling the tickets is quite demanding as for organization and time, it engages several employees, who need to bear material responsibility, and whose original job description is completely different.
- Handling the takings (the money collected) is even more complicated than handling the tickets; there is always something to re-count, register and hand over.
- Manual evidence of partial operations within the whole process in combination with operation mode (drivers´ run shifts) significantly increases the risk of errors, which are hardly traceable.
Each of the five PTC Prague garages was equipped with a deposit terminal for takings collection and a kiosk issuing tickets for supplementary sale on board. The devices are network interconnected, which enables the driver to drop the takings and get the tickets at any of the five garages, but what is more, at any time during the day or night.
Ticket purchase identification process
In the deposit terminal, the driver gets identified by a personal identification number (PIN). Then he chooses an account number to which he wants to drop the takings – suburban and urban lines. He pours the coins to the receiving hopper and pushes a button to submit. He can also insert a wad of banknotes to the acceptor. After the machine finishes counting the coins and the notes, it displays the value of the coins, the banknotes and the total value. If the driver agrees with the sum displayed, he confirms the transaction, otherwise he can stop the transaction by pushing the “Return” button, on which he is returned all the coins and the banknotes inserted. After finishing the transaction, the driver is printed a receipt and the cash is deposited into the driver´s virtual account. During the whole encashment process there are graphic and verbal instructions and other information for the driver shown on the display.
Tickets are issued in a kiosk, which is network interconnected with a deposit terminal. The driver gets identified by an employee contactless card and his PIN number, namely on a colour touch screen of the kiosk. After signing in, the driver has a chance to purchase tickets (according to his virtual account balance) and print them. He has also the chance to check the history of his purchases and takings collection. After finishing a transaction, a receipt is printed out. The ticket issuing kiosk is equipped with a personal computer, which also functions as a communication server, not only with the deposit terminal, but also with the SAP information system of PTC Prague, where the documents for the driver´s payroll are sent (a reward from each sold ticket).
The whole system is secured by a robust supportive back-office, in which it is possible to set prices of the tickets, tariffs, ticket forms, service parameters, and a range of other properties and functions. Another advantage is also the fact that the back-office sends an email and SMS in case of a defined event – e.g. paper shortage in a printer etc.
The course of implementation
The project was implemented within the time horizon of six months. Comparing to other projects, this one was more complicated by the fact that it intervened in the course of many sections of PTC Prague – IT, traffic check-in system, takings collection, economy, payroll. Nevertheless, the project team managed to meet all the requirements of the PTC Prague, and a pilot operation in the Hostivař depot was launched after approximately four months. After two months of a trial run, the system was fully launched in the other garages of PTC Prague. At the moment of the switchover to the full operation, all the cash registers at the garages were closed down.
Return on investments within four years
The return on investment in terms of PTC Prague is less than four years. The system works to the satisfaction of the customer, who has the use of a hotline, helpdesk, and a 24hrs service. The customer´s satisfaction is illustrated by written reference and also by the fact that there was an article on the present system issued in the magazine of Prague Public Transit Company.