‘Revolutionary’ CalMac ticketing system set for October

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CalMac is introducing a new digital ticketing and reservations system across its network in October.

The ‘state-of-the-art’ system will replace the company’s existing 25-year-old ticketing process and will offer customers ‘greater choice on the purchase, management and use of tickets, including the ability to carry them on a smart device’.

It will also allow multiple vehicles on a single booking and selected concession fares will be available to buy online for the first time.

Robbie Drummond, CalMac managing director, said: ‘This exciting project will revolutionise the way in which we interact with customers by offering more choice and flexibility for everyone using the 29 CalMac routes to more than 50 destinations around Scotland’s west coast.

‘Our staff will be given training on the new system so that we can provide a smooth transition for our passengers. We are confident this new system will deliver positive results for our business users, island visitors and those who use our lifeline services daily.’

The new system, eBooking, is currently being used by several operators and is in use in 94 ports across the world and manages around 48 million passengers and 18 million vehicles each year, CalMac said.

‘The original plan had been to introduce the new system in March 2022, but the rapid rise in Covid-19 infections we faced earlier in the year has meant the extensive hands-on training we had planned for more than 700 colleagues was not able to be progressed. Covid infections also prevented integrated working with our supplier during the early part of the year.’

Mr Drummond added: ‘We will use the time between now and October to introduce stakeholders and customers to the new system and continue the extensive training programme we have already implemented for our staff.

‘The decision to go ‘live’ in the quieter October period was taken to avoid the introduction of a new system during the height of the busy summer season. Choosing October reduces the risk of any potential disruption for island businesses and life during their busiest period.

‘The CalMac team are confident eBooking will be a significant improvement in the customer experience and a welcome development for our business.’