Today’s cashless society, in which customers use credit and debit cards to pay for even low-cost items such as a bottle of cold drink or a newspaper, has made further inroads into the railway as Birmingham Snow Hill station has installed new cashless vending machines.
These allow users to pay for their purchases with credit or debit cards rather than scrambling for change – and a unique QR Code scanner will enable any promotional discounts to be applied.
They also include screens displaying real-time train information for passengers as well as informative maps of the local area and rail routes.
Developed by JRE Water Business, a subsidiary of the East Japan Railway Company, which is a shareholder in West Midlands Trains, the machines are customisable for wheelchair users, allowing the user to switch the display to a lower level.
West Midlands Railway head of customer experience strategy David Whitley said: “We are always looking for ways to improve the experience for our passengers across our network. These machines will give our customers at Snow Hill the chance to access the very latest technology when using the station.
“By offering real-time train information these new machines will assist passengers in keeping their journey plans up-to-date as well as offering a convenient, cash-free selection of food and drink.”
The director of lifestyle business at East Japan Railway Company’s London office is Susumu Nagawa. He added: “These innovative vending machines will provide a new station experience to West Midlands Railway passengers by offering a unique mix of drinks and snacks including some Japanese favourites such as Aomori apple juice.”
The new machines are already in use at a number of railway stations in Japan and are being introduced at Snow Hill as part of a 12-month trial.