Redesign #3 - Train tickets

I commute to and from work everyday by train using the same annual ticket, as such, I don’t tend to look at my ticket.

I show it to the guard on the train, put it through the ticket barrier and show it to station staff at the barriers. Apart from that it stays in my pocket.

But with Christmas upon us I’ve been travelling to different places via train and actually ‘using’ train tickets. By that I mean:

  • Checking to ensure I‘ve got the right ticket for the way I’m going
  • Discovering my coach and seat number
  • Uncovering whether or not I’m allowed to use the ticket at a later time
  • Finding my ticket, rather than the ticket with my seat reservation on (you get two tickets, strangely)

During all of this I couldn’t help but notice something, train tickets are awful.

Train tickets, what a mess. Image

It’s difficult to understand the information on the ticket, difficult to quickly uncover the piece of information you need from the ticket, and difficult to find the right ticket when you’re shuffling through the 5 others you’ve been given.

I imagine it’s not just passengers who find it difficult. Think about the other user of train tickets, the staff of the Rail Operators. Both guards who check tickets on the train, and the staff who work on the barriers in the stations assisting people through.

Of course by now the staff have become well accustom to current train tickets and where to look for the information they require. They’ve accepted the bad design and have to live with it.

Redesign

Redesign

Why not something like this?

Stripped back to the essential pieces of information a passenger and train staff need, all of which (I hope) is easily accessible at a glance.

Bigger and better use of white space to ensure the eye is drawn to the information that people need, quickly.

And simply, it’s just simple. There is no need to over complicate a very functional tool such as a train ticket. Clearly surface the information a user needs to complete their task and then get out of their way.

I hope this redesign achieves that.

Oh, and rationale for blue strips rather than orange? It’s the blue of National Rail, but mainly it’s because I’m tired of the eye sore orange.

Current Vs. Redesign

I believe an improved design would benefit not only passengers, but also the staff of the Rail Operators. A redesign could make the staff more efficient and in turn provide a better experience for passengers.

A redesign could enable staff to check tickets quicker at the barriers, meaning more people could get through, and quicker. This then reduces congestion and lengthy queuing.

A redesign could enable guards on the trains to check tickets quicker. Freeing up their time for more important jobs like passenger safety, liaising with station staff along the line and generally ensuring a pleasant customer experience.

So yeah, there you have it, another thing that I thought could be a lot better. Something that given some thought and a redesign could improve the users experience and the perception of the organisation.

Your thoughts and feedback welcomed.