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19.01.17

Chiltern to pilot innovative ‘ticket-free travel’ on new Oxford route

Chiltern Railways has announced that it will be piloting a new initiative enabling passengers to travel ticket-free on its trains.

The scheme will be developed in partnership with travel technology company SilverRail Technologies and is one of six Arriva UK Trains’ proposals which have been awarded funding via the RSSB’s Future Railway competition, having been in the pipeline since 2015.

Under the scheme, a smartphone app will be developed for passengers which will detect their travel and open ticket gates at their destination using Bluetooth, automatically charging them the best available price for their journey at the end of the day.

Dave Penney, managing director of Chiltern Railways, said: “Customers want to travel easily with assurance that they have paid the best price; this app-based concept eliminates the need to purchase a ticket instead using Bluetooth and geolocation tracking to determine journeys taken charging the best value fare at the end of the day. 

“We chose to work with SilverRail as they share our drive for innovation and are an incredibly agile and innovative, rail focused organisation with a wide range of experience.”

In addition to the ticket-free element, it is planned that the app will also offer passengers personalised real-time travel updates, fare advice and journey options based on their travel history.

The pilot will be conducted on Chiltern’s new £320m route between Oxford city centre and London Marylebone, which opened last December.

Carmel  Roche, head of mobile at Silverrail Technologies, said that the company’s goal is to create a “relaxed, stress-free” journey for Chiltern’s commuters by reducing uncertainty and frustration.

 “We are extremely excited that Chiltern is embracing this opportunity to make door-to-door travel simple, seamless and cost effective,” Roche said.

The company’s CEO Aaron Gowell called the partnership a “breakthrough” for rail customers which will allow them to seamlessly travel through stations without having to stop at a ticket machine.

“We are thrilled that Chiltern see investment in customer facing technology as the way forward, making rail travel much more efficient for travellers, whilst helping the entire network to work better,” Gowell said.

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Comments

Jerry Alderson   19/01/2017 at 19:38

RTM said: "smartphone app will be developed for passengers which will detect their travel and open ticket gates at their destination using Bluetooth, automatically charging them the best available price for their journey at the end of the day." This seems to be a variation on MultiPass, which was piloted on Greater Anglia and seems now to have completely vanished. One of the problems with MutiPass is that Bluetooth drains the battery, which resulted in resistence from passengers. Hence after the trial they proposed drtopping Bluetooth. Another issue is that some passengers do not want big Brother tracking them. I mentioned this in my Digital Ticketing article in the August 2016 edition of Rail Professional.

Noam   20/01/2017 at 09:20

Why use Bluetooth and not NFC? Getting your phone out of your pocket and touching it on a reader is not particularly onerous, particularly if it means avoiding the battery drain issue.

John Grant   20/01/2017 at 12:19

Newer versions of Bluetooth are more energy-efficient. But is the geolocation accurate enough to know which ticket gate to open, and when?

Lance Adlam   20/01/2017 at 16:54

What do elderly passengers who don't have, or want a complicated smartphone, do about having authority to travel? Will they still be able to purchase a 'traditional' ticket?

Jerry Alderson   20/01/2017 at 17:51

@Lance. There are no proposals to abolish the Tangerine Tickets. The aim is for things to co-exist. Obviously using a bit of dead tree relies upon an up front payment rather than an end-of-day payment so PAYG and far optimisation is going to be limited to newer travel mechanisms such as startphones.

Henry Paxton   21/01/2017 at 11:07

This sounds a great idea, but the app developers need to make sure a Windows Phone version is available at the same time that IOS and Android are released.

Nicholas Fuller   15/02/2017 at 09:39

Yes agree with the previous comment. Where is the windows phone app support ?

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