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Smart train tickets roll out to more UK passengers

Tyrone Stewart

London King's CrossThousands of UK train passengers will soon be able to ditch the old paper tickets in favour of smart tickets, as more stations are kitted out with necessary infrastructure throughout this month.

Passengers travelling from major stations, including Waterloo, Brighton, Gatwick Airport, Edinburgh, Waverley, and Glasgow Central are already able to buy smart tickets via desktop or mobile to be store on their handsets or a smartcard.

With new readers and computer software being installed at Blackfriars, Watford Junction, City Thameslink, London Bridge, East Croydon, and Shenfield this month, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) expects nine in 10 tickets to be available for sale as smart tickets.

In May and June, upgrades will continue at more stations, focusing particularly on stations in Scotland, including Edinburgh Gateway, Bathgate and Glasgow Argyle Street.

“Together, rail companies are going full steam ahead with smart ticketing, with passengers increasingly able to use their phones or smartcards thanks to station upgrades across the network,” said Robert Nisbet, regional director of the Rail Delivery Group. “Of course, we want to go further, but realising the full benefits of new ticketing technology requires regulatory reform of the wider fares system. That’s why train companies are working with government to update the rules that underpin our rail fares.”

According to the RDG, 14.1m smart tickets were sold between 6 January 2019 and 3 March 2019 and 22 per cent of all journeys in 2018 were made on tickets bought online. In the first two months of 2019, paper equivalent to the distance of London to Edinburgh and back was saved thanks to smart ticketing. And smart tickets enable operators to make ‘one click compensation’ a possibility.