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EXCITING: PKP Intercity Makes a Large Investment in the New Ticket Sales System

EXCITING: PKP Intercity Makes a Large Investment in the New Ticket Sales System
photo: PKP Intercity/PKP Intercity Makes a Large Investment in the New Ticket Sales System
02 / 01 / 2023

PKP Intercity has signed three agreements that will allow travellers to buy train tickets in a new online sales system as early as next year, and they will be able to use the full functionality of the new system in the last quarter of 2024. It is the largest IT investment in PKP Intercity in more than 20-year history. The first contract is for the e-IC 2.0 internet sales system, the second and third are for the licence, implementation and maintenance of the new Central Sales System and the booking service. PKP Informatyka will be the contractor for the systems. The total value of all contracts is more than PLN 143 million gross.

New e-IC 2.0 Internet sales system

It is planned that the e-IC 2.0 system will be made available to travellers in the final months of next year. Due to the complexity of the system and its strategic importance, the roll-out will be divided into phases. The first of these will be completed as planned in September next year, with subsequent phases being introduced gradually. It will allow the functionality of the current system to be mapped and new changes to be implemented. The full functionality is expected to be achieved by 2024.

The contract, without taking into account the right of option, amounts to over PLN 8.5 million gross, and, if PKP Intercity decides to extend the order, its total amount will be over PLN 9.7 million gross.

"The development of the Polish railway, which we have witnessed in the last few years, is visible to the naked eye. It means modern rolling stock, renovated stations, and modernised railway lines. What is equally important from the passenger's perspective is the increasingly high quality of service, which is being implemented as part of the PKP Intercity development strategy. The best example of this is the agreements signed today, thanks to which tickets for the carrier's connections will be available in a modern system, which will make travelling by rail even easier. It is another step towards our goal of a comfortable, safe, predictable, accessible and environmentally friendly railway," says Andrzej Bittel, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Infrastructure.

The new e-IC 2.0 system will offer travellers a new layout and purchase path. There will be new functions such as searching for a connection to plan a back-and-forth journey, creating shopping profiles (where you can indicate your favourite or most frequent relations) or the option to add a ticket to your calendar. e-IC 2.0 will suggest and select the best offer for travellers to use if they meet the fare conditions of the offer. Once the traveller's age has been determined, the platform will suggest the concessions most likely to be available for that age range. It is particularly important when ordering international tickets for journeys with children, due to the complex rules for child and youth discounts.

As with the current online sales system, there will also be the option to purchase a ticket without creating an account, the possibility to buy season tickets, book them and for journeys made using Intercity Cards. There will still be a facility whereby passengers will only be able to enter the name of the destination city and not a specific station (for selected cities). In this case, the system will offer all available connections to the destination, taking into account the stations in the selected city. Passengers will still benefit from the 'shopping cart' function, graphical seat reservation (on electric and diesel multiple units) or the presentation of attendance. It will be possible to purchase a ticket with two transfers in one transaction.

Subsequent stages will offer the possibility to purchase international tickets and those under the Interrail or Joint Ticket offer.

Central ticketing system

The second contract concerns the Central Sales System, more specifically the licence, implementation and maintenance of the technology. It is also one of the most vital systems at PKP Intercity. The implementation will be carried out by PKP Informatyka, which will take care of maintenance for 60 months after the production start. After this period, PKP Intercity will be able to take over maintenance of the system or extend the contract. The licence was purchased in perpetuity. The total value of the contract is more than PLN 71.1 million gross.

Another contract relates to a reservation service, which PKP Informatyka will provide for the carrier. PKP Intercity will be provided with efficient and highly available infrastructure and software to handle all operations related to seat reservations. The value of this contract is over PLN 62.1 million gross. The total value of both contracts under the Central Sales System project is PLN 133.28 million gross.

"It is very encouraging to see two PKP Group companies working together to achieve the best global standards. Through the establishment of the PKP Group holding company, opportunities have opened up to further strengthen cooperation within the Group, as well as to build competencies and a common strategy for key areas of activity. We are changing the Polish railway, and the goal is its dynamic development and strengthening its market position," summarises Krzysztof Mamiński, President of the Management Board of PKP S.A.

The production launch of the new Central Sales System, which is the 'engine' of the new system, is scheduled for the second half of 2024. That is when ticket sales will begin using the new system, which will operate in parallel with the current system for some time. The aim is to ensure a smooth transition and gradual integration of sales channels and to provide Travellers with uninterrupted ticket availability.

The new system will be a much more flexible technology than the one currently in use, allowing the carrier to introduce new solutions and functions more quickly and easily. The modern architecture of the solution will make this possible. It will make it easy to introduce changes justified by the business and the needs of travellers.

The new Central System will facilitate integration with the sales systems of European carriers, which will improve the purchase of tickets for international trains. The introduced offer engine will also ensure the most favourable selection of offers and prices for travellers, using an even more advanced sales model with dynamic pricing, which already applies to all train categories. The new system will enable further developments in this area. Passengers will also gain better access to travel information.

"The execution of contracts for the supply of IT solutions and services for PKP Intercity confirms the role of PKP Informatyka as a trusted technology partner with whose participation PKP Group companies can effectively implement their IT strategies. For PKP Informatyka, this is undoubtedly an opportunity to build and continuously develop its competence in the area of passenger solutions based on state-of-the-art technologies. Together we are embarking on the next stage of building the potential of railway IT, thanks to which passengers will gain solutions applied in Europe," says Tadeusz Turzyński, President of the Management Board of PKP Informatyka.

"The signing of contracts for e-IC 2.0 and the Central Sales System is the largest IT investment in the more than 20-year history of PKP Intercity. I believe that the e-IC 2.0 Internet sales system will become the travellers' favourite place to buy tickets when using a web browser. e-IC 2.0 will offer a new, clear layout and purchase path, and what is considered most important these days, the so-called user experience, will increase. We realise that passengers will buy tickets on if the online sales system provided is intuitive to use, stable and fast. As part of the implementation of our investment and development strategy, we place a very strong emphasis on digitalisation. The signing of contracts for the new sales system and e-IC 2.0 is the culmination of the company's efforts this year to introduce a dynamic sales system across all train categories and standardised commercial terms and conditions. We can confidently say that our sales are adapted to current market realities," says Tomasz Gontarz, a Member of the Board of PKP Intercity.

More and more tickets are bought via remote channels - PKP Intercity bets on their development

Developing remote channels and expanding the sales network is part of PKP Intercity's development strategy. It sets as one of its key objectives is the streamlining and simplification of the passenger service process through the introduction of further digital solutions. The aim is a fast, simple and intuitive ticket purchase in the customer's preferred app or website.

This form of purchase is growing in popularity – currently, 70% of passengers already buy PKP Intercity tickets via remote channels, primarily the internet or mobile app, and in 2019, 54.3% of travellers used it.

The technological transformation currently being implemented by PKP Intercity serves to optimise the company's processes, translating directly into the quality of services offered to passengers.

Source: PKP Intercity Press Releases