Rail minister instructs train firms to get on board with smart ticketing by next year

Written by Sam Trendall on 16 October 2019 in News
News

Companies asked to send details of plans to make digital options the default by next year

Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Archive/PA Images

The rail minister has told train firms that the government wishes to maximise its £80m investment in smart ticketing and requested details of how companies intend to make them the default option for travellers by next year.

In October 2017, the government released an £80m funding package designed to ensure that, by the end of 2018, digital tickets or automated contactless payment options were offered for every journey on every franchise throughout the UK. 

In an open letter to all rail companies, Department for Transport minister Chris Heaton-Harris said “now that smart ticketing is accepted at almost all stations across the network”, he wants train firms to encourage widespread adoption of the technology by travellers.

“Transport for London’s Oyster and contactless systems set the standard for customer proposition and they are widely used where they are available,” he said. “I want to see the industry achieve the same level of customer proposition and hence the same high levels of take-up.”


Related content


The minister added: “I am keen that the £80m investment by government is maximised, and the taxpayer gets full value for money from the infrastructure and interoperability we can now see from the programme.”

Heaton-Harris said that he wanted the rail industry to collectively make “a more concerted effort to move to smart by default”. He requested that all companies write to him by 15 November and provide a plan for how they could offer smart tickets as their default option by January 2020. 

“I am also keen that train companies are taking every step to ensure that smart tickets are enabled for sale wherever the infrastructure exists, and to ensure the buying process for smart tickets is as simple and user-friendly as it can be,” he said. “I would like to understand the steps you are taking to ensure that this is the case, and how you will measure customer satisfaction with smart ticketing buying processes in a consistent way.”

Firms should provide details of any work to promote smart-ticketing uptake that they have already undertaken, and what additional measures are planned for the future.

“By sending this letter I am not asking you to withdraw paper tickets, but I do want to encourage people to use smart tickets, which will naturally lead to fewer paper tickets being sold,” Heaton-Harris said. “This means that passengers who cannot access bank cards or mobile phones may continue to use paper tickets.” 

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Election 2019: Which party has most to say on digital, data and technology?
10 December 2019

Examining the language of each party’s manifesto reveals significant differences in the amount and focus of proposals related to technology and data policy – as well as in the wider themes of each...

Conservative manifesto: five tech takeaways
9 December 2019

Rounding up the Tories’ key pledges in the area of digital and data, including a new cybercrime force and tax incentives for investments in cloud computing

Labour manifesto: five tech takeaways
26 November 2019

The free broadband plan has attracted attention, but the party has a number of other proposals for the use and regulation of technology. PublicTechnology rounds up the...

Related Sponsored Articles

Three best-practice measures in the event of a data breach
3 December 2019

To have the best chance of an effective response and a full recovery, organisations should have a robust incident response strategy in place, says BT 

How to take control of your network
26 November 2019

We hear from BT about why delivering a great customer experience depends on your network visibility 

The future of voice: how to successfully transform your legacy voice estate
19 November 2019

Organisations are increasingly having to replace their legacy voice infrastructure as traditional analogue and ISDN lines are being phased out. BT talk about how they can help the transition...

Case Study: Cryptocurrency, connectivity and the cloud
12 November 2019

BT presents findings from cryptocurrency firm Gemini on how they're providing customers with direct connectivity thanks to the Radianz network