Rail passengers in Kent and parts of East Sussex are set to benefit from a £5.5m investment in smart ticketing across Southeastern’s network.
The train operator plans to bring in smart cards, initially for season tickets only, as an alternative to paper tickets from December 2016.
Southeastern will now work to upgrade its ticketing systems following a deal with the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of the government-funded £80m South East Flexible Ticketing (SEFT) programme.
Rail minister Claire Perry said: ‘Smart ticketing is a common sense innovation that makes life easier for passengers. It allows for more straight forward journeys and I’m delighted Southeastern will be rolling them out across much of their network.’
David Statham, managing director for Southeastern, said: ‘[Smart ticketing] will allow our passengers to beat those Monday morning queues as they will make it much easier and quicker for passengers to buy weekly, monthly or annual season tickets online and load on to their smart card before setting off on their journey.’
DfT officials claim when SEFT is completed 250,000 season ticket holders across the south east will be able to use smart tickets, with a range of train operators that have previously signed similar commitments. These include c2c, South West Trains, Govia Thameslink Railway and Abellio Greater Anglia.
The partnership programme between government and operators means smart cards will operate seamlessly between different train companies across the region.