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Rail passengers pilot mobile ticketing at 230 UK stations

ALL CHANGE: UK rail operators aim to take m-ticketing nationwide within three years

Technology that will enable rail passengers in the UK to travel across the country using a barcoded mobile ticket sent directly to their smartphone is undergoing pilot testing at 230 railway stations in the north of England, Scotland and the Midlands.

“The rail industry has piloted a new flexible barcoded m-Ticket, which passengers download to smartphones or other mobile devices, and wants it to be available nationwide as soon as possible — which could be within three years,” says Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents both UK train operators and railway infrastructure owner Network Rail.

The service “lets people switch between different train operators’ services on a single journey,” RDG adds. “More than 40,000 have been bought so far.”

Tickets in the cloud

“The RDG is working also with the card payments industry to explore how people outside London could use new ‘ticket in the cloud’ technology to use contactless credit or debit cards as a ‘token to travel’, replacing paper tickets,” the company adds.

“In future, instead of just paying for journeys with a bank card, customers will be able to book online or via a mobile phone app and simply use the same payment card to go through the gates at the railway station. Customers with compatible smartphones would not even need their bank card with them, simply touching their device on the reader.”

Rail operators and The UK Cards Association announced in January that they had developed a national framework designed to enable transport operators to implement contactless payments for bus and train journeys. Contactless travel could also be put in place on every UK bus by 2022 under a multi-million-pound plan being developed by five major bus operators.

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