Virgin Trains customers can now skip ticket office queues and buy directly from station staff using new hand-held ticketing devices.
In an industry first, the long-distance operator has issued the new tablet technology across its network in a bid to improve customer service.
The move mirrors changes in banking and other retail sectors where staff have moved from behind screens to interact directly with customers.
The system will be able to issue digital tickets to a mobile device, reducing paper usage.
It will also allow Virgin Trains staff to be more responsive to customers’ needs and to provide more immediate support around ticketing, directions, onward travel advice and in assisting passengers with mobility issues.
The technology, known as Avocet, was rolled outacross the West Coast network in Augustfollowing several successful trials at major stations.
Director of digital projects at Virgin Trains, Nick Dodd, said: “Avocet is giving us flexibility. Our people can work behind a window, on the concourse, on the platforms or within the ticket machine vending area.
“We have also used the system in station car parks so customers do not have to walk to the ticket office. It’s about opening up our ticket offices and ensuring customers have better access to our frontline teams as well.”
He added: “This approach has been successfully adopted in banks and on the high street so it makes sense to introduce it at our stations, but we are taking this a step further as we are focusing on face to face engagement whilst making best use of the technology in a customer’s own pocket – their mobile phone.”