Certainly I think that the Aircoach system can be improved but operational and financial concerns will come in and this is why you see few bus operators will operate the hybrid system that you propose, if it was so simple everyone would be doing it but yet none of the big operators do.
I think that GoBe have great customer service, great engagement on social media though and they are far better with this side of thing and always have been than Aircoach. Don't get me wrong Aircoach are ahead of where they were in 2012 as far as that is concerned but GoBe still far better and I think that is pretty plain for everyone to see!
Aircoach recently lost what some regard as one of the best commercial and operational minds in the industry. They've gained someone with operational experience but new ideas and more focused on technological change and the customer experience even if they don't have the commercial knowledge of who they replaced (hence why they are recruiting a commercial manager).
In the last few months they've made their website mobile friendly, launched a coach tracker which is based on the leading coach tracking software in the UK, rolled out new ticket machines, new on-board tracking devices and had software custom designed for the first multi-currency contactless system which probably wasn't cheap.
According to this interview
as well, they are still very much in the middle of change so it's possible you'll see a little more flexibility with ticketing once it's complete
The company expects to launch a new mobile ticketing service by the end of December, after which customers who use Aircoach several times a year will be able to buy tickets in bulk and download them to their phones.
Next month, it will roll out a ‘colleague app’ that serves as a kind of staff notice board. Workers will eventually be able to use the app to swap shifts with each other.
The article also mentions that we're going to see a new fleet of coaches from Aircoach, so hopefully the renewed competition from GoBe can help to keep both operators on their toes, since I don't think it's unfair to say that until quite recently, Aircoach had somewhat rested on their laurels and came a little bit complacent with their dominance of the route which was reflected in the lower spec vehicles etc.
GoBe are executing their strategy for the new services well at the moment though, they've not got into the self yield destroying tactics that happened 6 years ago where they cut the price too much and Aircoach easily saw them off and they had to retreat with their tail between their legs. Plus as said before, Aircoach are vulnerable right now, without the commercial experience they had in the past and the fact the person who knows their business inside out for the last decade is now in the BE/GoBe camp.
If GoBe were ever going to make serious inroads into the market share of Aircoach, now is the best chance in the last few years to do it and those chances don't come around very often, so when presented with them you need to take them.