• Official opening of new customer contact centre at Basingstoke
  • Contact centre linked to Video Ticket Machines at 91 South West Trains stations
  • Believed to be the first network of its kind in the UK
  • Already helped over 13,000 passengers since service started in the summer
  • Part of a £50million investment to improve passenger experience across the network

The South West Trains video contact centre, which provides real time help and advice to passengers across the network, has been officially opened.

The centre is linked to new Video Ticket Machines, designed by technology company Parkeon, at 91 stations across the South West Trains network. It is believed to be first system of its kind in the country and allows passengers to talk directly to specially trained staff who can offer face to face advice and assistance, making it easier for passengers to get help and find the best value fare for their journey.

Since the system went live in the summer, more than 13,000 passengers have been helped – an average of more than 150 every day. It has also been shortlisted for Innovation of the Year at the European Customer Service Awards.

The contact centre was officially opened on 20 September by Arthur Pretorius, Customer Service Director for South West Trains, Councillor Simon Bound, Cabinet Member for Communities and Community Safety at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, and Owen Griffith, Managing Director of Transportation, from Parkeon.

The state-of-the-art Video Ticket Machines offer many of the features passengers will already be familiar with, including pre-booked ticket collection and tickets for immediate travel. However, the screen also includes a ‘Help Me’ button, which a passenger can press at any time and be immediately connected to the dedicated contact centre in Basingstoke.

Staff can offer advice and guidance and, if needed, take control of the passenger’s screen and complete the purchase for them. The introduction of this system is part of the £50million investment being delivered by South West Trains to improve passenger experience right across the network.

Arthur Pretorius, Customer Service Director for South West Trains, said: “It was great to be at the official opening of the UK’s first integrated customer contact centre. We’re very proud that our Video Ticket Machines are linked to a dedicated centre with specially trained staff who can offer face to face advice 24/7 and are able to purchase tickets for passengers on their behalf.

“We’re able to help passengers in real time which we’ve received really positive feedback on. Since 1 June we’ve already helped around 13,000 passengers using the Video Ticket Machines and the opening of the dedicated centre at Basingstoke will only improve the service we provide. Passengers love the fact they don’t have to wait around for an answer and risk missing a train or later connection.”

Cllr Simon Bound, Cabinet Member for Communities and Community Safety at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council: “This new addition to the service gives customers visiting 91 different stations options for face to face help when navigating around ticketing and route options.

“It was wonderful to meet the team dealing with these enquiries based in Basingstoke and I was extremely impressed with the service they are providing.”

Owen Griffith, Managing Director of Transportation at Parkeon, said: “We’re delighted with the customer response to the integrated video communication system developed in partnership with South West Trains.

“Passengers are now enjoying the best of both worlds – easy access to the efficient collection and purchase of train tickets via the latest generation of ticket machines and a direct video connection to the new customer contact centre for real-time help and advice when they need it.”

The £50million investment being delivered across the South West Trains network to improve passenger experience also includes:

  • 100 Customer Ambassadors in stations
  • 1,400 extra car parking spaces

New website and smartphone appVideo Ticket Machines connected the brand new customer contact centre at Basingstoke are now available at the following stations:

Addlestone, Alton, Ash, Ash Vale, Ashford, Axminster, Bagshot, Bedhampton, Bentley, Berrylands, Bookham, Branksome, Brentford, Byfleet and New Haw, Camberley, Chandlers Ford, Chertsey, Chessington North, Chessington South, Chiswick, Christchurch, Clandon, Claygate, Cobham and Stoke d’Abernon, Cosham, Crewkerne, Datchet, Earley, Effingham Junction, Feniton, Frimley, Fulwell, Gillingham, Hampton, Hampton Wick, Hamworthy, Hedge End, Hersham, Hinchley Wood, Hinton Admiral, Honiton, Hook, Horsley, Hounslow, Liphook, Liss, London Road Guildford, Lymington Town, Malden Manor, Martins Heron, Micheldever, Milford, Mortlake, Motspur Park, Netley, New Milton, North Sheen, Overton, Oxshott, Parkstone, Pokesdown, Portchester, Rowlands Castle, Shepperton, Sherborne, St Denys, St Margarets, Stoneleigh, Strawberry Hill, Sunbury, Sunningdale, Swanwick, Sway, Templecombe, Thames Ditton, Tisbury, Tolworth, Totton, Upper Halliford, Virginia Water, Wandsworth Town, Wareham, Whitchurch, Winchfield, Winnersh, Winnersh Triangle, Witley, Wool, Woolston, Worplesdon & Yeovil Junction.