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UK rail operator trials blockchain rewards

thameslink go ahead

Last week mobility rewards startup DOVU announced a blockchain-powered loyalty program with UK-based Go-Ahead. The UK listed rail operator runs rail franchises in the South East of England including Gatwick Express, Thameslink and South Eastern as well as a number of bus brands such as Metrobus and the Oxford Bus Company. It delivers more than a billion passenger journeys a year.

The blockchain deal is for a loyalty program targeted at Thameslink and Southern Rail and will focus on “the first and last mile of the customer journey,” according to a DOVU blog post. In other words, Go Ahead wants to know how customers get to and from the rail leg of their journey. By sharing the information users will earn loyalty points in the form of cryptocurrency.

“Improving and rewarding customer loyalty and behavior should be an essential part of what we do. We are delighted to be working with DOVU to realize this ambition,” said David Gornall, Innovation Lead, Govia Thameslink Railway.

The deal follows an innovation program run by Go-Ahead during which ten innovations were trialed as part of its “Billion Journey Project” culminating in a Demo Day in London on 23rd January.

About DOVU

DOVU’s platform is built on Ethereum. The startup received seed funding from InMotion Ventures, an arm of Jaguar Land Rover, before launching an ICO in October 2017 in which it raised approximately $12 million. Currently, the market capitalization of its currency DOV is just under $1.5 million.

In May DOVU completed a pilot with BMW’s leasing arm. Ledger Insights previously wrote about another of DOVU’s use cases, the idea of rewarding car renters to encourage them to return cars in good condition.

Luxoft has also explored using blockchain for dealing with shared car use. It focused on the situation of somebody renting a car with a low battery charge.

Other large scale mobility projects, not particularly focused on rewards include the MOBI alliance as well as IBM’s collaboration with DB Systel, the technology arm of Deutsche Bahn. The latter is exploring a solution to the issue that so many journeys involve multiple tickets and ticketing apps.