recently implemented functionality that supports and could spur the use of a relatively new type of ARC-approved site, the ticketing fulfillment location (TFL).
At a TFL branch, an agency can centralize its ticket printing, but sales are not permitted.
In its announcement, Worldspan characterized the TFL concept as a potential cost-saver for agencies, but when ARC created the TFL in 1998, it had other, grander things in mind.
For example, it said an agency with a paper-ticketing office could hire itself out to do the job for other agencies, which then could devote themselves exclusively to electronic ticketing and become free of ARC ticket-security rules.
At the time, ARC said it was positioning itself “to meet anticipated demand, rather than responding to current demand.”
Nevertheless, the TFL evolution has been slow, despite the desire to look well ahead.
“We were ahead of the curve on it,” said Jeanine Rehel, ARC`s manager of CTD and E-Commerce. “We put it out before the industry was ready for it. Agents were ready for one location that did all of their printing.”
However, Rehel said, “Quite honestly, the GDSs just weren`t hearing customer requests for the TFL. So they pushed it low on their priority list.”
But that has changed with the steady increase in use of electronic tickets, she noted.
“Agents started to reevaluate some costs, and the GDSs started to get more inquiries [about TFL],” Rehel said. “So the GDS upped the priority on it.”
So far, she said, only one TFL location has been approved by ARC. For confidentiality reasons, Rehel declined to identify the location.