A video ticket machine, source: Deutsche Bahn (DB)

Deutsche Bahn improves ticketing with video machines

100 vending machines with video assistance are available in Germany for the passengers travelling by train. They were installed by Deutsche Bahn within its self-service policy. After the coronavirus outbreak, these apparatuses have taken a new significance as they reduce the in-person contacts.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) started to equip small and medium-sized train stations in Germany with video-guided ticket machines in 2013. As of today, there are 100 apparatuses of this type located in 10 German states. The latest video ticket machine was launched earlier this month at Munich Moosach station on the Munich S-Bahn network. By the year’s end, the railway company will install 20 more machines of this type.

How does it work?

The key feature of the mentioned vending machines is the video assistance service. In contrast to the conventional ticket apparatuses, they have a microphone, loudspeaker and two screens. One monitor is for searching the necessary train connection, while another is for the live video communication with the advisors. If the passengers need to clarify some information or some help when buying a train ticket via the machine, the DB’s dedicated stuff provide them with all the required information remotely.

Video ticket machine at Munich Moosach station, source: Deutsche Bahn (DB)

Physically, the advisors are based at the DB’s service centres and talk to the customers via video calls. Currently, Deutsche Bahn has seven special centres, which are dedicated to the video assistance service. They are located in Braunschweig, Kempten, Ludwigsburg, Saarbrücken, Schweinfurt, Schwerin and Villingen.

Is it popular?

Starting from April 2013 when the first video-guided ticket machine was launched, more than 646,000 customers used this service. Its popularity is increasing with installing the new apparatuses across Germany. For instance, there were 6,700 users for five machines in 2013 and more than 166,300 users for 87 machines in 2019.

According to DB’s data, this service is the most popular among the passengers at the age of 30-59 years (48 per cent) and over 60 years (32 per cent). The younger customers is accounted for a share of only 20 per cent as they prefer to use other distribution channels such as mobile applications. Meanwhile, the users are satisfied with this service. 90 per cent of them would recommend or reuse the video-guided ticket machines.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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