On the basis of the agreement with the organisers, it was a pleasure and a special honour for MÁV-START Co. to join the 17th FINA World Championships as a National Transportation Partner for the preparation and smooth running of the prestigious sporting event. In practice, this meant that the railway undertaking provided unique offers and services for the supporters and fans visiting the events of world aquatics championships, participating athletes and organisers.
The ticket buyers of the World Championships were able to purchase a return ticket for trains travelling between Budapest and Balatonfüred with a 50% discount. At the Budapest locations, i.e. at the Danube Arena and at the Margitsziget fan zone, domestic and international train tickets were available, and at Balatonfüred a mobile cashier was provided for the travellers, where they were also able to purchase their domestic and international tickets. Rail tickets were valid for return only if the ticket was accompanied by an entrance ticket of the visitor.
Volunteers assisting the organisers could use their special documents to obtain train tickets free of charge between the venues of the FINA World Championships from 14 to 30 July and the venues of the FINA Masters competition between 7 and 20 August. For the latter event, special trains of MÁV-START Co. carried accredited racers – nearly 1000 athletes – and technical staff. For this purpose, on 10, 11 and 12 August two train pairs consisting of seven coaches each were put into service.
In addition to carrying out passenger transportation tasks, MÁV-START Co. also wished to contribute to the success of the event by promoting the World Championships. In this spirit, a locomotive with the motifs of the sports event was put in service, which could be seen in almost all parts of the country. The uniquely decorative vehicles were observed everywhere, so the railway undertaking provided excellent advertising space.
21st century ticket sales and passenger information at MÁV-START Co.
Nothing justifies MÁV-START Co’s commitment to the use of digital technologies better than the online timetable search engine that has existed since the dawn of the Internet, since 1996. The company expanded this service in 2008 with the online ticket purchase option, while ticket printing at home has been available since November 2011 as a result of the development of the infrastructure required for verification.
Every year more and more people use the option to purchase through the Internet, with an increase of over 30% each year. As a result, almost 7% of the domestic revenues were generated from Internet ticket sales in 2016.
By the emergence of smart devices, an increased demand could be detected for tickets to be used on all trains without printing. In order to reach this, it was necessary to make sure that MÁV-START Co’s passengers already had an electronic train ticket before boarding the train and to avoid that they purchase the tickets on board when seeing the ticket inspector. All these conditions were created by MÁV-START Co. in November 2016 and as a result e-train tickets were introduced.
Passengers received the change positively, since then more than 100 000 e-tickets have been sold monthly, which is twice that of the number of home printed tickets in the previous year.
The growing popularity of the online channel, and in particular the e-train ticket, has also made it possible to provide discounts available only through e-tickets for trains travelling in off-peak periods among this summer’s seasonal products. With this measure, the company wants to reduce the excessive loads at the cashiers, as hundreds of people can get their tickets online at the same time. Besides this, in addition to the e-train ticket discount, the passengers receive additional discounts, encouraging them to use the online channel and use less crowded trains.
MÁV-START Co. has made Vonatinfo application downloadable since March 2016 in which it is possible to get information on the schedule and current traffic information besides the travel planning function. Almost 400 000 users have downloaded the app. The online map showing the position of trains is queried on an average of 50 000 times a day. Since the introduction of the e-train ticket, many passengers are calling for tickets to be purchased through mobile applications. MÁV-START Co. is further developing the Vonatinfo application, by which mobile applications will be available in the autumn of 2017.
In 2016, MÁV-START Co. being the first among the railway undertakings in the region, made its timetable available in the Google Transit service. On Google Maps, the train stations show the trains arriving to / or departing from there, and when you’re planning a route, Google can count on rail travel too.