Egged (pronounced Egg-Ed) is the largest transportation operator in Israel, and one of the largest bus companies in the world. It operates 55% of the country’s public transportation service lines. Egged buses make 25,267 trips every day, transporting about a million passengers over 720,073 km of roads. Egged has 20 Central Bus Stations and an additional 23 Terminals.
Egged selected Transway and IBM to implement and manage its Bus Ticketing System. The project is ongoing, and includes Ticket Machines (or Consoles) by the driver on all of Egged’s buses.
Both Transway and Egged were pioneers in implementing automated Ticketing Machines and Ticket Management Systems in Israel. The experience gained in over 15 years of working with Egged has given Transway a wealth of knowledge in terms of defining, implementing and managing large Public Transport Ticketing System projects on a national scale. The Electronic Ticketing Ssytem was tailored specifically to Egged’s needs, and has transformed and changed over the years, which includes but is not limited to changes and alterations to the actual Ticket Machines, or Driver’s Consoles. Transway has partnered with IBM on this project, where IBM backend hardware is used in concert with the Transway Ticket Machines. Years of combined experience between IBM and Transway allow for continued collaboration between the companies on other projects as well.
Over 3500 Ticket Machines, or Driver’s Consoles, are being used on a daily basis by Egged. This means that Israel’s largest public transportation company depends on Transway’s products and services for the fare collection of nearly one million passengers a day.
Travel on Egged has become safer, as more passengers have accepted and prefer the automatic tickets, called Rav Kav (literally, MultiLine Card) and the drivers are able to concentrate more on safe driving, and less on the business of collecting fares from the passengers.
The near instantaneous updates and reporting capabilities allow Egged to have more and quicker knowledge about their lines, the popularity, seasonality and are able to be more nimble and flexible in adapting to changes in the usage of the lines.
During the course of the project with Mifare smart cards that were planned for Egged’s use, there was a migration to Calypso cards as a result of the introduction of national and uniform travel cards that can be used on any of the country’s bus or train operators. This migration included changes both on the software and hardware side. This migration took place during the course of 2009 and 2010.
In 2006 there was a requirement to upgrade modules within the Ticketing Machines in order to comply with new requirements in the market. Due to Transway’s modular design, there was no need to replace the entire Ticket Dispenser Machine, but rather, we were able to replace specific parts and elements of the Ticket Machine instead, and as such, kept the process to a minimum cost.
Gearing up towards the project with Egged, Transway executed a preliminary project for eight (8) months. During this time, drivers, conductors, depot managers, branch managers and other Egged staff were interviewed, and Transway about their work methods of the customer in order to fit the Ticket Machines to Egged’s style of work. As a result of this groundwork and delving into the details of the customer needs and wants, it was decided that the pedestal of the mounting fixture should be flexible so that drivers of different heights and sizes are able to change the height and angle of the machine to their liking.
On the software and financial management side of the Ticket Management System project, during the course of all of the years that the project has been in place, Egged has not lost a single shekel (e.g. Euro), and this is according to their own declarations. Even when the Ticketing Machines are taken out of commission for repair and maintenance, or more extreme cases where the Ticketing Machines have been burned, the financial management and flow has stayed in tact and no money was lost by the company.
The Bus Ticketing Systems project included as part of the subsystem of the bus, connections to both internal and external displays and interfacing to the fleet management system where the general overall operation, such as display of work arrangements, updates on displays and announcements to passengers begin with the driver’s console and move through the fleet management system to the displays. Required updates and changes to the internal signs and announcement system on the buses were brought in after legislation passed for accessibility for the physically challenged population in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), and these changes were implemented in 2008.
It is worth mentioning that the since the projects inception in 1999 that the customer has extended the maintenance agreement as a result of its satisfaction with the support and service that they have received from Transway. The most recent and current service agreement will be in effect until mid 2016. The service agreement includes full hardware maintenance, software maintenance and quick response times.
It is important to note that all public transportation bus companies in Israel are multi-client, as they are required to function in an interoperable environment. More specifically, it is possible to execute different uses of the smart cards on different bus companies. The architecture is complicated, meaning that there are numerous predefined contracts such as round trip tickets where the initial passage is with one company and on certain lines, and the return portion is with a different company and other lines. All of this flexibility is defined and maintained on the smart travel cards and Ticketing Machines throughout the country.