Clare Gilmartin, Chief Executive Officer, Trainline
“Develop a customer-led vision, then it’s possible to make things happen” – Clare Gilmartin discusses why delivering for the customer should be the industry’s common goal
Clare has been CEO of Trainline since 2014, leading the business through a period of rapid growth across Europe and Asia. Innovative and unafraid to embrace new technologies, Clare’s vision for the future of ticketing is bold and customer-focused.
Clare, since joining in 2014 you’ve taken Trainline from strength to strength. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from the rail industry?
We all exist in a complicated industry and, sometimes, it’s hard for the industry to move collectively as one. But I’ve learnt, if you listen to your customers to understand their wants and needs, and if you use this understanding to develop a customer-led vision, then it’s possible to make things happen.
A good example of innovation inspired by customer needs is eTicket. We could see that the ubiquity of the smart phone would mean customers would love mobile tickets; and we were right.
Trainline is a technology pioneer – from your perspective, what does the future of ticketing look like?
In the future, more people will carry their ‘entitlement to travel’ on a mobile device. Today, that is an eTicket on a mobile phone but tomorrow, that will be a contactless NFC token of the customer’s choosing – quite possibly a virtual bank card.
Customers will be able to travel pre-paid (for longer journeys) or pay as you go (for shorter journeys) based on what they prefer – and seamlessly across the different operators.
Technology will mean our customers’ travel experience will be even more frictionless. They will be able to easily change, upgrade or refund their journey if they need to and will be served personalised information about delays or alterations to their journey whilst they travel.
“Customers will be able to easily change, upgrade or refund their journey if they need to and will be served personalised information about delays or alterations to their journey…”
Jumping forwards 10 years, what do rail journeys look like?
There will be a renewed demand for public transport, as private car ownership declines and environmental consciousness increases. People will be drawn towards services that are cheap and frequent – and a responsible way to travel. Technology will help transit operators integrate their services in ways that aren’t easily achieved now. Customers will be able to book end to end journeys in one place according to preferred mode of transport, price or journey time.
“There will be a renewed demand for public transport, as private car ownership declines and environmental consciousness increases.”
Interview conducted by Sasha Cotton, Conference Producer – Accelerate
Clare has been CEO of Trainline since 2014, leading the business through a period of rapid growth and expansion across Europe and into Asia. Trainline now partners with more than 270 carriers, helping customers around the world travel in and across 45 countries, all in one simple app. She has also led increased focus in mobile and AI innovation, strengthening Trainline’s data science team and investing in app features to make travel as easy and friction free as possible. Prior to Trainline, Clare was Vice President, Greater Europe for eBay. Clare is an advisor to Future Frontiers, an award-winning social enterprise that provides career guidance to pupils from low income backgrounds, and through Trainline a supporter of Code First Girls. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Int) degree from University College of Dublin, and is their Business Alumni of the year 2019.