highQ’s collaboration with DB Fernverkehr AG, the operator of the “Sylt Shuttle” motorail train between Niebüll and Westerland, has now been in place for over 18 years. highQ managing director Thomas Hornig remembers the beginnings of the project well: “Back then, at the beginning of this millennium, we converted the Sylt Shuttle ticketing system from paper to electronic chip cards and thus – literally – digitised it.” This chip-card-based system, called SVT01, was then in continuous use for 18 years, 365 days a year.
Naturally, the technology has not stood still since then, so highQ was given a follow-up order in July 2018 to modernise the Sylt shuttle. The aim was to bring both the customer interface and the backend up to date. The new SVTneo system, which went live gradually during 2019, incorporates a number of new features. These include a customer web shop and a convenient app ticketing system that replaces the chip-card-based payment and barrier machines.
“This has now brought the Sylt Shuttle fully up to date for the mobile age”, explained highQ project manager Erik Schlegel. Car train passengers can now book their transfer in advance, either online or via their mobile devices, and then directly enter the loading terminal through the open barrier. This is because the check-in process is now carried out automatically via license plate recognition. “The resulting customer experience is almost magical”, said an enthusiastic Schlegel.
highQ was expressly praised for the good and timely implementation by its customer, Deutsche Bahn: “We are proud of the new, jointly developed Sylt shuttle booking system and, at the same time, we can look back on a truly long-standing collaboration since 2001”, commented Thomas Hellwig, who led the project for DB Fernverkehr AG. “Thanks to the company’s expertise, highQ has been able to keep our system up to date over the past two decades through continuous further development – in the fast-moving IT world, this is certainly anything but the norm.” highQ boss Thomas Hornig was happy to return this praise: “We were delighted to receive the follow-up order, as it demonstrated that even after 18 years of partnership, our excellent relationship shows no signs of fading”, he observed.
The third group in the mix – the actual users of the Sylt Shuttle – also seem to be happy with the result. The new app received overwhelmingly positive ratings in the app stores and was already used for 600 bookings in the first week after its release on the web and as an app – even before the new functions were actively promoted.