Helping Yarra Trams To Keep Passengers In The Know

Fundamentally, we recognised a growing need to elevate the way that we engaged with our passengers, particularly around disruption to the network. Proxima’s expertise in the transport sector meant we knew they could be trusted to help us achieve that. They navigated tight timelines, existing technologies and our obligations to various stakeholders, to help us deliver a truly personalised, effective and seamless customer experience for our passengers.

Rob Wallace, Passenger Experience Delivery at Yarra Trams

All Aboard

‘Think like a passenger’. That’s the guiding principle for Melbourne’s Yarra Trams when it comes to customer experience, and it’s that same guiding principle that saw the company bring Proxima on board in July 2020.

By communicating personalised, live disruption alerts, answering real-time customer enquiries, and capturing vital passenger feedback, our technology is enabling Yarra Trams to reach more customers, through more channels, more effectively.

Yarra Trams Facts and Figures
Source: Yarra Trams - Facts and Figures.

The Need For (Communication) Speed

Since taking over the running of Yarra Trams back in 2009, operator Keolis Downer has improved safety, punctuality and passenger satisfaction across the entire network. So, why the need for Proxima?

Firstly, Yarra Trams commitment to customer service. Whilst Yarra’s existing customer-facing platform tramTRACKER® already provided network information, the firm recognised the need to communicate with more of their customers across the channels that they used day to day.

Secondly, Yarra’s service-level agreement with Victoria’s Department of Transport, stipulates that passengers are required to be notified of any disruption to the network within 10 minutes of that disruption occurring.

For Yarra Trams, the pressure was on to find a communications solution that could help the firm deliver on both of these commitments.

Yarra Trams Twitter Solution

Taking Passenger Experience Up a Gear

Fortunately, as a critical part of Victoria’s transport network, Yarra Trams are supported through State Government funding to implement new, innovative technologies that enhance the passenger experience.

For Yarra (who were already aware of our success with Metro Trains Melbourne), that meant an opportunity to engage Proxima to help them deliver on four key objectives:

  1. Providing a real-time conversational experience where customers could subscribe for ‘stop to stop’ journey disruption alerts
  2. Distributing personalised journey based disruption alerts to customers
  3. Deploying conversational AI to respond to common customer enquiries
  4. Capturing and reporting on customer satisfaction and feedback to provide Yarra with vital insights

Bumps In the Road

A key part of the project was the need to develop and execute a launch plan to address particular challenges and thereby ensure success and adoption. Upon commencing our partnership with Yarra, it was vital that we could overcome three particular challenges:

Firstly, there was a need to integrate our Iris Conversational AI platform with existing technologies deployed by Yarra. In simple terms, this meant integrating with Yarra’s existing customer-facing platform, tramTRACKER®, to deliver an end-to-end solution and a seamless experience for passengers.

Secondly, for Yarra Trams, time was of the essence. It would have taken considerably longer and more resources for Yarra to build a solution in-house, and with commitments to honour both customers and the Department for Transport, that timeframe simply was not an option.

Finally, wider socio-digital trends also presented a challenge. Trends across the mobile industry show that people are less likely to install apps and app usage in general is down. Instead, end users are much more likely to use and engage with brands and organisations on channels they already use. Reaching customers on those channels was vital.

Overcoming each of these challenges was critical in order for us to deliver a successful solution for Yarra Trams and their passengers.

The Journey To Success

We understood the importance of providing a turnkey solution for Yarra Trams, and we were able to build and launch the first phase of that solution within just 12 weeks.

Phase one addressed the need to activate new channels and deliver seamless notifications to Yarra Trams’ passengers in the event of disruption to their journeys.

Our technology delivers a conversational experience that enables customers to subscribe to specific journeys on the Yarra Trams network and receive personalised notifications when a disruption will impact their individual trip.

Our platform currently runs through Twitter’s Direct Messages, with capacity to roll-out across additional consumer-facing channels, such as Facebook Messenger, in due course. These new channels ensure that Yarra can communicate directly with a much broader audience, and that passengers themselves aren’t required to download additional apps to stay in the know.

A critical part of the delivery was successfully partnering with Yarra’s existing technology providers to provide one seamless end-to-end solution for their customers. By integrating our Iris Conversational AI platform with the NextThere platform, we were able to instantaneously extract disruption information from AppJourney and push that information out to passengers within moments.

Phase two of our partnership with Yarra, which will be rolled-out in the coming months will see the introduction of additional conversational AI services.

Alongside notifications, our Natural Language conversational AI solution will allow Yarra to provide real-time, intelligent, automated responses to common customer enquiries, enabling the firm to serve their customers wherever and whenever. This solution will also allow passengers to share feedback with Yarra, capturing and collating valuable insights into customer satisfaction that will help inform future decision making for the Yarra Trams’ team.

Just The Ticket

Put simply, our solution has enabled Yarra to both better serve their customers and meet their obligations to Victoria’s Department of Transport.

With our solution now live, Yarra Trams is engaging more passengers than ever before with critical real-time updates.

For Yarra’s passengers, the results are clear: enjoying a personalised, informative and seamless customer experience that saves time, minimises disruption and keeps them on track whenever they are out and about.

If you’re keen to keep your passengers in the know, get in touch.


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