UTRECHT / BRUSSELS – ETTSA, the travel technology industry association representing travel distributors and global distribution systems, and Hit Rail B.V., one of Europe’s leading organisations spearheading the drive towards interoperability, have concluded a cooperation agreement to help further joint initiatives in the travel industry, especially the promotion of the Full Service Model (FSM) initiative in the railway sector.
The agreement follows a formal invitation from ETTSA to Hit Rail to become a strategic partner, recognizing the significant mutual benefits their co-operation will bring to both organisations and to the wider industry of travel distribution technology and services.
ETTSA and Hit Rail have agreed to collaborate on issues of common interest and concern, which they will jointly address at European level. These will include all areas of rail and intermodality. The first collaboration will see Hit Rail and ETTSA work together on the Full Service Model (FSM) initiative, a joint travel industry initiative that aims to make use of modern IT developments to enhance rail booking opportunities, providing more accurate information about rail products for railways and ticket vendors.
Hit Rail will offer its technology expertise gained in building the HEROS message interoperability service on top of the Hermes Virtual Private Network (VPN), which aims to enable interoperability across disparate platforms in railway companies across Europe. This has created a platform that allows rail reservations systems to interconnect and interoperate even if they are using different standards.
ETTSA Secretary General Christoph Klenner said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Hit Rail at this important juncture of the FSM project. Hit Rail will work-side-by side with ETTSA and in close collaboration with other key stakeholders to ensure that planning and booking of rail journeys becomes easier for consumers and allows travellers to more easily compare the fares and offers of different rail operators.”
The agreement comes as the European railway community continues to seek greater integration and the European Union continues to encourage greater liberalisation at the same time as the introduction of EU Regulations, in particular the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs), requiring all EU railway undertakings and infrastructure managers to communicate using standard messages and a common interface.
Antonio Lopez, Managing Director of Hit Rail, said: “This agreement is a further step in our strategy of becoming more involved with all the major players in the pan-European rail industry. We are very pleased to be working with ETTSA. Our expertise in building and operating dedicated platforms for data transmission and message interoperability services for interconnection of disparate passenger reservation systems will be invaluable to our cooperation as we all continue to move towards greater interoperability of railway and travel organisations to provide enhanced rail products for travelers in all countries.”