KCOM Wins Rail Settlement Tender

IT and communications services provider KCOM (KCOM) has announced it has been chosen by Rail Settlement Plan to replace and manage a new suite of business critical applications deployed in the cloud to improve substantially ticketing services throughout the UK.

Following a thorough review of the market and a comprehensive competitive tender process, KCOM was selected to deliver a new Data Capture and Apportionment Service (DCAS), Portal Service and a re-architected and developed Replacement Availability and Reservation Service (RARS) to RSP.

KCOM was chosen over various competing providers on the basis of its deep industry expertise within the rail sector and the agility and flexibility it could demonstrate throughout the contract. As a Premier Consulting Partner for Amazon Web Services (AWS) there was also a clear operational and technological fit between KCOM and RSP for cloud services.

Replacing the legacy DCAS will provide major improvements compared to the current system, capturing all UK ticket sales information and apportioning the revenue of rail tickets, covering both the Train Operating Companies and third party retailers.

KCOM has already helped RSP increase ticketing capacity by 20%. This system relies on the absolute accuracy of settlement calculations. The new improvements will increase automation to de-risk the processes, improve workflows and increase efficiencies across train operating companies (TOCs) and third-party ticket retailers.

The development of a Portal Service will provide RSP with a secure messaging integration hub for both new and existing systems. This will handle exceptionally high volumes of messages with very rapid response times. RSP collects sales data from 8,500 ticket-issuing systems from retailers alone, and ensuring the accuracy of the messages based on this data is paramount.

The new contracts will see KCOM deliver also the critical RARS system, both improving the current service and delivering new functionality. This service will enable retailers to book reservations on all trains, coaches or ferries with reservable seats.

RARS will hold details of all available services including carriages, seats and fares and seat maps, allowing passengers to identify and reserve seats more easily. Furthermore this data will then enable train companies to better manage revenue. As every journey planning and ticket issuing system uses RARS to confirm seat availability and to make bookings, both high availability and rapid response times are vital.

“These are critical systems for the passenger rail industry,” said Brian Jones, Head of Programmes for RSP. “Customer facing processes such as reservations and ticketing, and the crucial revenue apportionment systems behind the scenes all need fast response times and complete accuracy. We look forward to delivering these innovative services with KCOM.”

“The Rail Modernisation Programme is key to enabling an up to date retail experience for all passengers,” said Steve Howes, Managing Director of RSP. “Better technology means not only do customers continue to experience a unified rail network, but also that the operating companies can provide their customers with flexible and convenient ways to purchase rail travel.

“Rail Settlement Plan, part of the Rail Delivery Group has awarded KCOM three significant contracts, each for a business critical application forming part of a suite of applications that support the retailing of train tickets. This was on the strength of their competitive proposal and on demonstration of their capability to deliver in a way which matches the requirements of our organisation,” said Howes.

“The KCOM relationship with the rail industry has been proven over many years,” said Bill Halbert, CEO, KCOM. “In 2011, we won separate competitive tenders to engage with divisions within the RDG. In 2014 we followed this with the contract to deliver Live Sales Management (LSM) to RSP, as well as work with National Rail Enquiries. We are very proud indeed to have become such a key partner and hope to continue to develop significant innovations for the passenger rail industry.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine