By Anna Holness – Managing Partner, Passenger Services


Driver-less cars. Frozen fares. Increased revenue.

These aren’t just ideals. Much of it is already happening or, at the very least, is being talked about in the Passenger Services sector.

It’s surprising what’s possible with a bit of creativity and innovation. And it’s why we’re running an initiative to recognise fresh thinking in the industry. The  O2 Passenger Services Innovation Award will give a total of £20,000 to charity as a reward for the brightest ideas from transport providers.

Digital Transformation

There are a number of examples of  organisations across the sector, and across government, that are already thinking differently about how to make Passenger Services more efficient and effective.

Easyjet has boosted its annual pre-tax profit by 51% partly by enabling its passengers to pre-book their plane seats. And the UK’s first test of driver-less pods in a UK town has been announced as part of a £75m government scheme to enable businesses to develop and test low carbon technologies. The automated pods will ferry people around on designated streets. They can be booked using a mobile app, and passengers can browse the internet, check emails and play games on the move.

In rail, a report by the Greater London Authority Conservatives  talks about opening up tube lines to sponsorship, to raise enough money so that rises in fares can be capped. While this may please passengers, it’s an extreme measure, and the need to continually update station signage with the sponsors’ names and logos would incur additional costs. An alternative option could be to make use of the fact that many passengers carry smartphones with them and to deploy bespoke mobile apps for passengers, with the option of sponsorship within these. It’s a good source of revenue, without adding additional costs.

Your chance

We’re looking for the most innovative idea from Passenger Services organisations to improve the passenger experience and employee engagement. And we’re giving the winners £20,000 for their chosen charities. That’s £10,000 for the best idea, and £5000 each for two runners up. We’ll recognise all the bright ideas at an event so that everyone knows about all the good work that’s happening.

Passenger service operators just need to submit an entry (a maximum of three per organisation), not exceeding 500 words each, demonstrating innovation in any one of the following areas:

  • How you use data to help your passengers and employees.
  • How you’ve generated new revenues as part of your business model.
  • Your view of the future of travel and how you’ll use technology to capitalise on it.

As well as receiving the charity prize money, finalists can also choose to take part in a facilitated Customer Engagement Workshop with O2 experts. Our specialists can help you explore the latest technology, what it makes possible, and how it can transform the passenger experience.

Find out more and see the full terms and conditions here, or call us on 01235 433 507. 

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on: 01753 565656
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