UK government to invest £80 million into smart rail ticketing
The UK government has set out details of its £80 million programme to introduce smart ticketing across England and Wales by the end of 2018.
According to the government, the £80 million investment into smart ticketing will ensure:
- Every passenger will have the choice of travelling without a paper ticket by the end of 2018
- Mobile barcode ticketing will be rolled-out on every rail franchise in Great Britain
- Passengers will be able to have smart cards hosted on their mobile phone – like a digital travel card – with a pilot of this technology expected in the next four months.
“Passengers across the country want smart ticketing and this government will deliver it,” said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. “This significant investment will ensure that passengers across the network can use mobile phones, bar codes and smart cards across almost all of the network by the end of next year.”
The Department for Transport is also working with the Rail Delivery Group to bring forward the next generation of ticketing systems so passengers have better-tailored options to choose from when paying for their travel.
Discussions with train companies about the introduction of mobile phone smart cars and mobile barcode tickets are in advanced stages, with deals soon to be reached with three operators.
This will mean that mobile phone smart cards and mobile barcode tickets will soon be accepted by every operator in England and Wales and be interoperable across different franchises.
“This is a hugely exciting innovation that resonates strongly with the plans recently set out by Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport,” added Steve Wakeland, CEO of ITSO. “With ITSO on Mobile, the infrastructure and technology is already there – no need for operators to invest heavily in new equipment or back end systems. ITSO have been working hard to bring the trusted ITSO smartcard to the mobile phone and will work with Government to explore how best we can support the delivery of the smart ticketing vision.”
Furthermore, pay-as-you-go travel is being rolled-out across the rail network, including with the introduction of KeyGo (a contactless travel card) by Govia Thameslink Railway. The KeyGo system allows passengers to use their card to tap in and tap out across virtually the entire Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern networks, from Cambridge to Brighton, and automatically be charged the most appropriate fare for their journey.
Other train operators are soon to follow, with tests happening shortly on South Western Railway, c2c and Greater Anglia.