London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is to arm its operatives with mobile PoS devices based on ECR’s RailPoS software to give passengers faster and more reliable payment technology for at-seat services on the London King’s Cross to Edinburgh route.
The route, which services stations including York, Leeds, Newcastle, Aberdeen and Inverness, is now being run by LNER – a Department for Transport (DfT) owned company. LNER will operate the route until a public-private partnership takes responsibility for both trains and track operations in 2020. All Virgin Trains East Coast staff have transferred to the new franchise.
In addition to ECR’s RailPoS software, the contract includes 216 new ECR Go2 all-in-one hand-held, mobile devices, replacing the previous system which used tablets in the food bar and hand-held terminals on the trolleys. It also encompasses a cloud-based operation and Miura M010 integral pin entry devices, which allow LNER to offer all payment types including contactless and mobile wallet.
The system, which was piloted in July 2018, will be fully implemented in advance of the new LNER Azuma train fleet scheduled to begin operation in 2019.
The new streamlined MPoS system will accommodate all user requirements including managing orders, stock control and supply chain requirements. It will also enhance the level of service customers receive and streamline trolley catering services on-board, in both standard and First-Class.
RailPoS integrates to Rail Gourmet, which supplies the on-board catering services for LNER, with all the data it needs to ensure that every order is fulfilled efficiently. The inbuilt sophisticated logistics technology calculates stock, verifies it with crews, and manages complex recipes.
Simon Pont, CEO, ECR Retail Systems, explains: “RailPoS is our industry-leading, unique end-to-end mobile MPoS technology specifically designed for the rail industry, built to ensure that no train operator should ever be overstocked or undersupplied, meaning reduced wastage, increased efficiency and greater customer satisfaction. Currently in use by a number of rail operators both in the UK and across Europe, it guarantees a highly effective and streamlined way to serve customers, and will offer LNER complete transparency across its business operations.”
Kate Davidson, Business Transition Manager, LNER, adds: “We needed to speed up onboard sales throughout our trains, and to offer support to our crews from the food bar to the trolley as well as in First Class. Offering contactless payments to our passengers on a handheld device was essential, along with a more accurate view of stock and sales in order to maximise profitability. We have been working effectively with the ECR team for some time now, and we are delighted that our new, personalised MPoS system is already performing well. The ability to maintain control over revenue reporting and management is a key value of the new system that will help us run the route efficiently and provide maximum customer satisfaction.”
The use of handheld terminals throughout this project means that devices can be interchanged, so that should one go missing or out of use, the service can continue uninterrupted, which was not the case before. The hand-held terminals communicate with the server, which in turn relays information to the master terminal and other linked devices.
This will overcome the connectivity issues sometimes experienced with the previous system which relied on the on-board wifi when moving between carriages and wifi networks. All handheld terminals are now pre-set to recognise and connect automatically to on-board wifi regardless of where they are, and enable LNER to download data much more quickly and to offer reliable card payment facilities including contactless.