New GTR pre-pay smartcard promises to be 'game-changer'


Rail operator GTR, which operates Southern services as part of the biggest franchise in the country, is to extend its new prepay smartcard to nearly all the stations its trains serve, Transport Network has learned.

The KeyGo smartcard is a hybrid system that requires users to add credit to an account but links directly to their bank account and tops up when necessary. A ‘fare engine’ calculates the cheapest fare the user should have been charged.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling

A GTR spokesman told Transport Network: ‘We can confirm that this spring we’ll be extending and improving our exciting pay-as-you-go smartcard called keyGo so that it works at almost all the national rail stations we serve across the Southern, Great Northern and Thameslink network.’

‘The system, which could previously be used only on Southern services outside the London Travelcard zone, is being tested and will guarantee our passengers the cheapest walk-up fare, overcoming that frequent customer complaint of an overly complex fares structure.’

The spokesman added that in future the card could be more like contactless and not require a credit balance.

In an email to constituents this week, transport secretary Chris Grayling, whose Epsom and Ewell constituency is served by Southern trains, said: ‘I have tried the system and can vouch that it works. I tapped in and out going into Victoria last week, and it worked fine without having to buy a ticket.’

Mr Grayling wrote: ‘the plan is to extend it so that it can be used across London just like an Oyster card.’ However, GTR told Transport Network: ‘That is the aspiration but this is a significant technical challenge.'

While the card is not currently valid in London on the Tube, DLR or London Buses, it can be used on some Metrobus and Brighton & Hove bus company services.

GTR pointed out that with current smartcards, including its own smartcard ‘theKey’ card, passengers pre-purchase a ticket either online or from a ticket machine, while keyGo pay-as-you-go is ‘making a leap forward to the [Transport for London] type approach where passengers don’t have to queue’.

The company said that extending keyGo to its Thameslink and Great Northern services and the stations it uses in London, will create the critical mass to make smartcard ticketing a much more appealing system. It said it was the only operator doing anything like this and that it would be a ‘game-changer’.

GTR told Transport Network that the keyGo system was not developed with the assistance of the Government’s South East Flexible Ticketing (SEFT) programme and does not use SEFT back office functionality.

It does not currently offer weekly capping or other discounts that might benefit part-time workers.


Also see

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Definitive Map Manager

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
This role is based within the Highways Service at Cambridgeshire County Council and provides an unusual and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Bridge Park Operations Manager

Brent Council
£38,799 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
This is an exciting opportunity to play a key role in managing the operations and contributing towards the... Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Assistant Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,074 - £30,756
A great opportunity for someone looking to start or develop a career in Highways Engineering including the... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Head of Strategic Transport

Cheshire East Council
£64,000 - £75,000 + benefits
We’re committed to “working for a brighter future together” – and we expect you to be too! Cheshire
Recuriter: Cheshire East Council

Regeneration Manager

Mole Valley District Council
£52,895 - £57,143 FTE
This is a great career opportunity to specialise in town centre regeneration and repositioning. Dorking, Surrey
Recuriter: Mole Valley District Council

Technical Services Officer (Mechanical)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£36,876 - £38,813
This is an exciting and challenging time for Kirklees and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Road and Footway Asset Engineer

Kent County Council
£28,925 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the Road and Footway Asset Team as an Asset Engineer. Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Head of Waste

Lincolnshire County Council
£65,651 - £70,725
As Head of Waste, you will be commercially focussed and forward-thinking. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Assistant Director

Reading Borough Council
Up to £92k
It’s the ideal time to take the lead on our modernisation agenda, and deliver growth in the trading of our front line services. Reading, Berkshire
Recuriter: Reading Borough Council

Assistant Director – Highways

Lincolnshire County Council
£82,264 - £107,878
Come and lead the future agenda for our highways services. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

County Highways Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
Seeking a highly motivated leader and an excellent communicator, who has a proven ability to build relationships and trust, leading by example. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Local Highways Manager (East) - Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council
G12 £43,662 - £50,430
Seeking someone who combines excellent technical knowledge with a dedication to the customer. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council