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The integration of Web GIS solution into a new customer information portal has enabled us to deliver better customer services more effectively.

Delivering better services for passengers, more cost effectively

Integrated into a new customer information portal, Esri’s ArcGIS technology is helping the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive to transform the way that it communicates with customers. The strategic use of web-based GIS is not only delivering more convenient and personalised services for passengers, it is also contributing to savings of over £400,000 a year.

SYPTE now delivers more convenient and personalised information services for customers

The new customer portal provides a much more cost effective way of distributing travel information

ArcGIS helps SYPTE to work efficiently and resolve issues reported by customers more quickly

The Challenge

The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) is responsible for driving the development of the public transportation network in South Yorkshire and making information about bus, rail and tram services available to over 1.3 million people. The organisation wanted to introduce new information services for passengers, to encourage greater use of public transport. However, at the same time, it also needed to reduce its operating costs, urgently and sustainably.

To address these challenges, SYPTE decided to radically change the way in which it operated, by creating a single customer relationship management (CRM) platform that would centralise all of the organisation’s customer data, systems and processes. It planned to use this CRM not only to support all internal workflows, but also to transform the delivery of customer services via an integrated online customer portal

“ GIS is an essential part of MyTSY, it allows people to navigate easily to the areas they know, visualise routes, plan their journeys and have greater confidence in public transport

Saad Masood – Senior GIS Analyst at SYPTE

The Solution

SYPTE has been a customer of Esri UK for over 20 years and immediately recognised the importance of including geographic information system (GIS) technology at the heart of its customer portal. With support from Esri UK, the organisation used Esri’s ArcGIS Server and JavaScript API for ArcGIS solutions to create a series of GIS web services. It then integrated them tightly with the new central CRM, built on Microsoft Dynamics, to allow two way communications between the customer-facing map views, back-end databases and internal processes.

Named MyTSY (Travel South Yorkshire), the customer portal now allows passengers to access an interactive online map and enter their postcode to find their nearest public transport stops, the best routes and service times. They can also click on the map to initiate communications with SYPTE, such as to report damage at tram stops or request new bus stop locations. The mapping interface has been designed to work on mobile devices, giving passengers the ability to use the customer portal anywhere and at any time.

“GIS is an essential part of MyTSY,” says Saad Masood, Senior GIS Analyst at SYPTE. “It allows people to navigate easily to the areas they know, visualise routes, plan their journeys and have greater confidence in public transport.”

“ ArcGIS has helped us to change the way that people interact with us and enables us to deliver better customer services, more cost-effectively

Saad Masood – Senior GIS Analyst at SYPTE

Benefits

Improved information services for customers
The integration of ArcGIS into the customer portal provides passengers with an easier and more convenient way to access travel information or contact SYPTE. The use of GIS is also helping SYPTE to deliver a new range of more personalised services for its customers. For example, commuters can view the interactive online maps to easily find and record their regular routes and bus stops. Then, when they leave work, they can simply use their smartphones to see exactly how many minutes away their next bus or tram is or see if there are any delays on the route. “People are often quite shocked that they can do this!” Masood admits. “It’s a great example of how GIS helps us to provide improved services for passengers and deliver a better customer experience.”

Reduced cost of customer contact
The MyTSY customer portal provides a much more cost-effective means of distributing travel information and handling customer enquiries than SYPTE’s network of travel information ‘shops’ in towns and cities around the area. “ArcGIS has helped us to change the way that people interact with us and enables us to deliver better customer services, more cost-effectively,” Masood says. “Reductions to SYPTE’s budget necessitated the closure of our physical shops and the organisation had to think about how to deliver information services effectively and sustainably. MyTSY has allowed cost savings of £400,000 in the first year. We expect the annual savings to be even higher in future years.”

Quicker resolution of issues
The online mapping capability plays a key role in helping SYPTE to resolve customer issues more quickly. For example, members of the public can go online, search for a specific bus stop and click on the map to report vandalism or damage to the shelter. This report is then automatically submitted to the relevant team, along with the correct location reference and the specification of the shelter, so that repairs can be initiated more promptly. When other passengers go online, they can see that the damage has already been reported and add comments to the existing record, but they cannot create an entirely new report for the same incident. This improves efficiency, as employees are no longer responding multiple times to the same issues.

Increased passenger numbers
Over time, SYPTE aims to improve customer satisfaction and increase the patronage of public transport. “By utilising Esri’s ArcGIS technology we are making it easier for passengers to plan their journey and make informed choices about available travel options,” Masood says. “Our aim is to encourage a modal shift to public transport services to reduce congestion and improve air quality.”

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