MTR Corp, Hong Kong’s sole rail operator, has updated its mobile app, adding some new features and functions to help passengers plan and undertake their trips better.
Key improvements include the introduction of “Alighting Reminder”, an enhanced “Trip Planner” and a real-time arrival schedule for designated routes, the company announced on Tuesday.
Annie Leung Ching-man, MTR’s general manager in charge of customer experience development, said the transport firm has been working in line with the government’s “Smart Mobility” policy, hoping to provide more customized services in the MTR Mobile platform through new technology and digitization.
At the end of 2019, MTR will fully integrate the mobile apps in a “big renovation”. The executive pointed out that the rail operator has been investing in mobile apps since 2012, and that it has spent HK$40 million in total on the initiative till date, including the latest series of updates.
Passengers have to turn on the Bluetooth and location service before they want to use the “Alighting Reminder” function. After choosing the “setting of notifications for alighting” and the destination station, MTR Mobile would remind passengers to get off from the trains through “Push Messages”, or provide information for passengers to go to the correct platform for interchange.
The new function uses the Beacon technology and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. In total, 2,500 Beacon receivers have been installed in the MTR stations, according to the announcement. The new function is available for the heavy rail networks, which includes the Island Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Kwun Tong line and the Airport Express.
As for the enhanced “Trip Planner”, passengers can search for routes by simply choosing the origin and destination station on the MTR system map, or inputting the origin and destination on the map.
The function will provide passengers with a suggested route from the station exit, and the estimated journey time to the destination. In addition to route search, the function also provides passengers with MTR journey information such as fare information, station layout map, first or last train schedule, and other transportation information such as minibus, bus or ferry.
In the next phase, “Trip Planner” is going to provide real-time data by analyzing the traffic data when the train services are delayed. Offering the real-time data involves transmission of information to a central system, and then releasing the data through the app. This would require related departments to integrate the information, making for a demanding software task.