Goodbye to paper train tickets

31 December 2015

train Paper train tickets look like they're on the way out, thanks to new plans that are set to see passengers tapping in and out with their bank cards or mobile phones. And this could be a thing as soon as 2016.

Basically, you'll be able to buy your journey online, and travel with little more than the bank card that you paid for the journey with. Shall we assume that plans are in place for people travelling who have a ticket that someone else has paid for?

The Department for Transport, banks, and train groups have held meeting to see how quickly the relevant technology can be pushed through, across the UK.

Basically, this is travelling on trains with contactless payment technology, so everyone will tap in and out like people who have been using the Tube in London have done for years.

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, said this new system will "improve the experience" of travelling by rail (it won't improve the actual trains though, will it?), saying: "The rail industry wants to respond to the needs of our customers and understands the importance of modernising train tickets so that passengers are no longer reliant on the old orange paper format."

"We are in the early stages of exploring how passengers could pay for and store tickets on their contactless credit or debit cards as part of our wider aim to improve the experience of rail passengers and move towards smarter types of ticket."

If this works, one good thing will be the removal of the need to use codes and the like, to print out tickets from machines in the stations. Hopefully, it'll mean an end to stations hiding cheapest fares from customers too, but we're not holding our breath on that score.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "Our plan for passengers is to build a 21st century railway that provides better journeys for all, and improved ticketing is a vital part of that customer experience."

TOPICS:   Travel

7 comments

  • Bonobo
    Hoorah! So refunds will presumably be provided immediately back onto the cards, and the onus will no longer be on the customer to apply for what they're entitled to; all passengers will just receive it automatically and instantly! That's how it'll work, won't it! ...Hello?
  • Alexis
    Good. I ended up with 8 orange tickets for a simple return journey a few months ago and they wouldn't let me on the train because I'd left one in the ticket machine by mistake. The woman at the ticket desk had to write out a special replacement ticket. It's absurd
  • Fagin
    Wow so they really want to read all your data, & possibly fcuk over your card as well as claim to have rights to retain it if there is deemed to be a problem.. what level of hell are folk allowing themselves to walk into?
  • Inspector G.
    Can't they just license the Oyster card technology from TFL? Despite what moaning Londoners will tell you, its actually pretty good, the technology already exists and will mean compatability across the UK.
  • JonB
    What if you don't have a contactless card? The South Korean railways have a neat idea where you "rent" a refillable card from a machine and add cash to it for your journeys. When you have finished with it you simply return it to a machine and get your rental fee and remaining money back. Why can't we have something like that here?
  • Father J.
    I have neither a contactless card or a smartphone, and I suspect I'm far from being on my own in that.
  • Fagin
    I have just sent my contactless card back, they've sent me out a regular one, make the overcharging bastards (bank & train companies dance for their money).

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