As our main business is providing travel insurance services to those that wish to travel, we take a close interest in any projects or initiatives that might make travelling more enjoyable, cheaper or easier. So we were particularly intrigued by a project that we stumbled across called ‘All Ways Travelling’ (http://www.allwaystravelling.eu).
This is a project backed by the European Commission that aims to create a ticketing system that ‘would allow passengers to book one ticket for air, rail and urban transport across Europe’. Now as European initiatives go (and let’s face it, some of them have been pretty batty) then this is one that we think deserves everyone’s full support.
Let’s compare how travelling today would be to one in the future should their plans come to fruition.
Today’s traveller attempting to cross Europe will face dealing with multiple organisations each of which has its own reservations, ticketing, billing and payment systems. (Not forgetting the many different national rules and regulations that still apply). Even allowing for the advent of online booking and paperless e-tickets, he or she will still amass a considerable number of documents.
Using online travel sites featuring multi-modal journey planners can make life considerably easier, but the would-be traveller could still end up on the last leg of his or her journey trying to work out how to obtain a tram, train or bus ticket from an automatic dispenser whilst an an angry queue of commuter builds up behind them.
AWT, a consortium led by Amadeus and comprising BeNe Rail, IATA, Thales, UNIFE and Zeppelin University aims to change all this by ‘developing and validating a model for a multimodal pan-European passenger transport information and booking system’.
In plain English, they want to see whether it would be possible for a traveller to make an end-to- end journey making one payment and using one ticket, or in mildly more comprehensible Euro-speak, a system, ‘where European residents and visitors could enjoy a seamless door-to-door experience when travelling from country to country’.
In true Euro-fashion, the project is large-scale, complex (and probably behind schedule already!) In fact, the first phase (an in-depth study of multimodality conducted by Zeppelin University) has been completed, and the project team is now working on phase 2.
This will involve, according to the Consortia’s website, ‘trialling a series of Proofs of Concept in terms of business models, operations and specific technologies that have been identified as critical for market delivery’.
Oh dear. Just when we thought it was all going so well!
We at Explorer Travel Insurance are going to keep a close eye on this project as we do believe that it goes to the heart of one of the long term aims of the EC, that of easing travel across Europe. Until then, keep your printer cartridges full of ink!
This is the last blog post from Explorer Travel Insurance for 2015. We do hope that you have enjoyed reading them and that you will return to our blog in 2016.
Can we take this opportunity to wish you a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year. (And happy travelling wherever you are going).