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article imageU.K. rail passengers to be offered 'smart tickets'

By Tim Sandle     Apr 10, 2019 in Technology
The days of the paper ticket for travel on British trains may be limited with the announcement of a further extension of a paperless 'smart' ticket pilot.
According to the Rail Delivery Group (which operates the network of train companies), more passengers are to offered the option of an electronic smart ticket - a ticket visible via a smartphone or other electronic device. The announcement, reported by Your Money magazine, indicates that major rail stations are to have the infrastructure for smart ticketing installed, with the end result that nine in 10 journeys will be upgraded to accommodate the electronic format in the near future.
In terms of 'near future', the development follows the rail industry's piloting of a new flexible barcoded m-Ticket, and the aim is to have the e-ticket available across most of the U.K. within the next three years. Already new readers and computer software have been installed at the following rail stations: Blackfriars, Watford Junction, City Thameslink, London Bridge, East Croydon, and Shenfield.
Commenting on this, Jacqueline Starr, Rail Delivery Group Managing Director of Customer Experience, states: “We have a vision of fully digital, mobile-friendly train travel with smarter types of quick and easy electronic tickets which are convenient, personalized and can be used on different providers’ services."
She adds that: “Many train operators already offer options like tickets on mobile ‘phones and travel using smart or contactless cards. The rail industry is developing technology to make buying and using train tickets simpler so that people no longer have to rely on the old orange paper type."
Assessing the U.K.'s e-ticket trend, the BBC notes that 22 percent of journeys in 2018 were made using tickets bought online. The news site further notes that this led to paper equating to the distance from London to Edinburgh and back again was saved in the first two months of 2019 alone due to people purchasing e-tickets. thanks to paperless tickets.
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