CalMac’s new ticketing project is delayed again

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The introduction of a new ticketing system by CalMac has been delayed again with the company blaming the pandemic.

The project called Ar Turas (Our Journey) will revolutionise the way in which CalMac interacts with customers, making travel simpler and easier.

A new, standard ferry system has been selected and the project team is well on with process change, system configuration and testing.

However, the system was originally supposed to be up and running by February this year, then was pushed back to the end of March. But CalMac now says it will not be introduced until ‘later this year’.

A report prepared by CalMac Ferries managing director Robbie Drummond said: ‘Significant investment has already been made to strengthen our communication network to help ensure an always-on signal for staff and customers.

‘The project has sought the views of more than 4,500 individual customers and has tested the customer-facing elements of the solution in-depth with a selection of customers on a 1:1 basis.

‘The solution will offer customers greater choice over the purchase, management and use of tickets, including the ability to carry tickets on a smart device.

‘It will facilitate a range of enhancements including multiple vehicles on a single booking, an online process for pet tickets and selected concession fares will be available to purchase online for the first time.

‘Core to any major change is to ensure our staff right across the business are fully trained which involves training about 700 of our colleagues.

‘We must get this right and the training must be face-to-face to enable staff to use the new software and devices confidently.

‘The rapid rise in Covid infections has meant that the necessary face-to-face training cannot currently go ahead and some of our key project staff may have to be redeployed to the front line.

‘We had planned to implement the new system in the first quarter of 2022.

‘This is no longer possible but provided the Covid situation improves in the near term, we anticipate we will be able to deliver the system during the first half of 2022, but carefully avoiding peak holiday periods.’

A CalMac spokeswoman said: ‘CalMac will be introducing an enhanced ticketing and reservations system later this year in order to offer customers an improved booking experience.

‘We are working hard in the background preparing the system for launch, which will take place once the training has been completed and staff are confident and content with it.

‘We will continue to review the situation in light of Covid cases and will keep customers and colleagues updated.’