In the first of two articles on state-of-the-art Customer Information Systems at the CFL, I’ll address the InfoPoint at Luxembourg City train stations as well as the Aramis and Auris systems and how they are helping CFL passengers
The CFL Group aims to provide all-round premium quality services; in order to be able to ensure an even better response to the needs and concerns of their customers, to provide them with comprehensive information and also to be directly accessible, the CFL is investing in a wide range of initiatives and measures.
The InfoPoint at the main station
The CFL teams are on duty 7 days/week to serve our customers. These include members of the train crew, ticket clerks, station inspectors, call centre employees and many other contact partners. Other contacts are the employees of the CFL InfoPoint, which is located in the middle of the hall of Luxembourg’s main station since the start of 2016 and which is open daily from 06:00 to 21:45. There, customers receive information on the various train timetables, including the respective arrival and departure times of the trains at the station and the tracks where they arrive. Customers are also provided with assistance in respect of the fares of national and international travel offers. Similarly, passengers are quickly updated on possible disruptions or construction sites on their respective travel route. InfoPoint staff provide customers whose journey continues from the main station with information on possible connections by bus or taxi. They explain to customers where they can find various services at the station and distribute a variety of informative literature. Those who are in rather a hurry and wish to avoid standing in any queues can find the detailed information they require – on the departure time and track of their respective train connection – on one of a total of eight monitors inside and outside the InfoPoint.
Aramis and Auris as a source of real-time info
Thanks to state-of-the-art technologies, customer information in real time is possible: The CFL App and website both offer information on the location and punctuality of trains via the two systems Aramis and Auris and, consequently, pass it on directly to customers.
By introducing the “CFL mobile” smartphone App, the CFL has created a tool by which customers can always keep up-to-date even when they are on the go – in real time, thanks to the travel information captured via the Aramis system. In this way, they can prepare their journey through Luxembourg and other countries in Europe to suit their personal needs, the App giving them all the information and train connections they require. Users have the option to receive updates and information on disruptions on the rail network as a push message. The concept of the “CFL mobile” allows the CFL to provide railway users throughout Europe with practical information. Customers can send their feedback – both suggestions and complaints – via the integrated contact form of the App direct to the CFL. The free App is available for all current smartphone operating systems.
The www.cfl.lu website presents visitors with offers and provides details on the versatility of the CFL Group and on current topics related to the company and its services. Moreover, the homepage directly provides the latest information on the railway service on all routes, including construction works and any disruptions. The website also helps in the search for any train connections required in Luxembourg and abroad.
The source of these two (and further) communication tools: two closely connected processes to aid daily customer information – the Aramis and Auris systems.
The “Advanced Rail Automation Management and Information System”, in short Aramis, is a tool to manage railway services in real time, including location and punctuality of a specific train, via both the CFL App and website. Since November 2015, Aramis serves the CFL as a central interface for the receipt, processing and transmission of all timetable and transport information between their respective source and the departments concerned as well as the passenger information via, for example, online media, announcements and destination boards, etc.
It is at the point of this transmission of information that the Auris system comes in. Auris, the German abbreviation for “Automatic Passenger Information System”, is still in its test phase, and aims to convey passenger information automatically and in real time to rail travellers. This system can capture data directly via the Aramis system on train times during normal operations and in the event of any delays and disruptions. In this way, passengers are kept informed in a timely manner on specific details by means of dynamic destination boards and automated announcements, including automated audio recordings in the text-to-speech process, reproducing them in high sound quality where required. At the same time, the high degree of automation of the Auris system takes the pressure off traffic controllers, allowing them to focus entirely on technical solutions in the event of irregularities or disruptions without neglecting important passenger information.
The new Auris system is being tested during the pilot phase currently in progress at a total of 12 stations and stops in the south and southwest of the Grand Duchy. The experiences gathered during the pilot phase will then be evaluated and used to prepare the extension of Auris over the entire Luxembourg rail network, which will take several years.