How near-shoring raised the
quality of SBB’s ticketing

Context & challenge

Creating a better service for passengers means much more than comfortable trains and buses that run on time. Removing the hassle-factor involved with ticketing, for example, can make a daily difference to the commuting experience. By improving smart infrastructure and digital technology to combine different systems, ticketing can progress from a basic necessity into a practical asset that adds value and improves the customer’s connectivity.

But the opposite is also true. A system that falters can result in severe delays, bad buzz and commuter anger. Transport companies need a solution that is tried and tested, before they go live.

Our brief

SBB is Switzerland’s largest travel and transport company, with a rail network that covers 3,024 kilometres and 366 million passengers per year. More than a company, SBB is an emblem of national pride.

Our client wanted to introduce a new system that allowed passengers with general or half-fare season tickets greater ease and flexibility with their travel plans. Their aim was to enable loyal travellers to access as many services as possible, along the mobility chain, using a single card.

Client case study:  Swiss Federal Railways

Their vision was for a uniform standard for displaying and checking electronic tickets. The introduction of SwissPass – “the key to mobility and leisure” – would prove the first step towards electronic ticketing in the public transport sector.

Solution & outcomes

We have helped SBB with quality assurance during the development of the SwissPass system, particularly in the fields of test management, test engineering and test automation. By creating sustainable testware, we had the necessary conditions for near-shoring and offshoring the test activities during the system’s operating phase.

‘SwissPass 1.0’ needed to be implemented as a hybrid overall project, consisting of multiple subprojects, based on a variety of development and organisational models:

  • Scrum-based development teams for highly specialised and proprietary client/server systems
  • Development of financial systems based on SAP ECC and CRM using the waterfall model
  • Integrated project for purchasing inspection device hardware
  • External projects handled by service partners for card production and photo scanning
  • The central test team has been organised in accordance with this project structure.

For a complex, hybrid system, our solution included a number of approaches, including:

  • Agile organisation of the test team
  • Release management
  • Development of a suitable test model
  • Test environment planning
  • Reducing dependencies through visualisation
  • Systematisation of technical tests

“The new SwissPass system is being delivered on schedule, on budget and to the desired quality standard. We are delighted with the results.”


Karsten Pech, Client Engagement Senior Manager

Case studies