Latest Rail News

09.03.15

Most rail tickets digital by 2020 – McLoughlin

Most printed paper tickets for rail travel could be phased out by 2020, the transport secretary has suggested. 

Writing on the Times political website, the Red Box, Patrick McLoughlin said that there is “no reason, by the end of the next Parliament, why most rail tickets can’t be digital”. 

It has been suggested that most passengers would be able to use Oyster-style smart cards or mobile phones for their journeys. 

McLoughlin said that this would allow for “things like part-time season tickets and flexible fares”. 

“Ending the complexity which makes buying a train ticket much harder than it should be. Technology and transport together makes it easier to get on and get around,” he added. 

The transport secretary noted that the railway is starting to see the transformative effect of digital signalling. And new technology is being trialled in north east England to allow passengers to use multiple services with the same e-ticket. 

On top of this, Bytemark, the US mobile commerce solutions provider, has been awarded a contract by FutureRailway to create a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-enabled mobile ticketing app. 

Once complete, the smartphone app is expected to enable riders to have their rail fare validated by simply walking through fare-gates equipped with new wireless readers. 

McLoughlin said transport has lagged behind other industries, such as the media, when it comes to adopting digital technology. “But I want us to go further,” he said. “Transport is an engine of opportunity and of growth. I want Britain to be the place people visit from around the world to learn what a great transport system is and how it is done.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com 

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