Rail industry hails paperless roll-out as smart ticketing stalls

 

The rail industry has hailed the extension of a paperless ticketing option for nine out of 10 journeys in the UK, as its efforts to introduce flexible ‘smart ticketing’ continue to fall behind schedule.

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operating companies (TOC) and Network Rail, said that ‘thousands more’ train passengers will be able to ‘wave goodbye to their orange tickets this month.

”Local
A barcode reader at Vauxhall, London

Following recent upgrades and after the further installation of readers at stations around the country and software updates due at the end of this month, ‘we expect nine in 10 tickets to be available for sale to customers as smart tickets’ RDG said.

However, a spokesperson confirmed that it counts barcode tickets as ‘smart tickets’. These do little more than provide a visual representation of a paper ticket without giving passengers smart ticketing benefits of the type offered by London’s Oyster system.

As Transport Network has reported, the Department for Transport’s (DfT) November 2017 Strategic Vision for Rail set a target for the end of 2018 that ‘both ITSO [smart card] and barcode tickets will be accepted for travel on almost all of the network’.

In October 2017, the DfT said that £80m of public money would ‘ensure every passenger will have the choice of travelling without a paper ticket by the end of 2018’.

The announcement from the RDG confirms that both targets have still not been reached.

Robert Nisbet, regional director at the Rail Delivery Group, said: ‘Together, rail companies are going full steam ahead with smart ticketing, with passengers increasingly able to use their phones or smartcards thanks to station upgrades across the network.

‘Of course, we want to go further, but realising the full benefits of new ticketing technology requires regulatory reform of the wider fares system. That’s why train companies are working with government to update the rules that underpin our rail fares.’

”Local
Barcode tickets can look like  orange paper ones

The Strategic Vision for Rail said that by the end of last year: ‘We also expect much of the industry to offer smart cards that can be held in digital wallets on mobile phones.’

Transport Network asked the DfT for an update on this target – and for comment on its failure to meet other smart ticketing targets – but it appears that progress on mobile phone smart cards has been minimal from TOCs.

A DfT spokesperson said: 'We set a goal of securing smart ticketing across almost all of our rail network by 2018. Ninety per cent of the 1.7 billion rail journeys made every year are now possible with smart ticketing, with every operator helping to fulfil that commitment.

'We are investing £80m to achieve 98% coverage in 2019, and will continue to work to make ticketing simpler, easier and smarter for passengers.'

The RDG said that increased availability of ‘smart tickets’ is already benefiting passengers by allowing passengers to avoid ticket machines, as well as going paperless, which is ‘forest friendly’.

It said that another benefit for passengers of ‘smart ticketing’ is ‘connecting information about their journey to a personal account, enabling one click compensation as already available on some operators’.

However, the RDG confirmed that ‘one click compensation’ depends on a journey being linked to a customer account through online or smart card purchases and does not therefore depend on paperless ticketing.

Mike Hewitson, head of policy at watchdog Transport Focus, said: 'Transport Focus research demonstrates many rail passengers want a smarter ticketing system that they can understand and trust, is simpler to use, better value for money and offers choices that suit the way we travel now.'

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