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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I access the ITSO Technical Knowledge Base?

The ITSO Technical Knowledge Base was launched in 2021 and is a self-service portal designed to enable ITSO members to search Specifications and articles easier than ever before.  The ITSO knowledge base is not just a library of articles but also includes over 150 frequently asked questions, guides and downloadable test tools — essentially, anything that helps our members understand and use our products or services.

These documents were held on the ITSO website before in PDF format but are now housed in a new site which feature an intuitive search feature which will immediately return relevant results from just a key word or sentence. It also houses a help desk where you can log technical tickets to the Technical Team.

Available to ITSO members, for access please contact julie.liburd@itso.org.uk

Is there a policy for ISMS usage?

ITSO operates an ISMS Usage Policy to ensure a fair use of the ISMS. The objective is to ensure that the ISMS is not monopolized unfairly by one User to the disadvantage of others.

This policy covers the use of the ISMS to carry out any related ‘AMS-ISMS’ and ‘ISMS-AMS’ processing of messages.

ITSO considers any misuse of the ISMS to be unacceptable and users should be aware that consequences of breach of this policy may include suspending their channels for a period of time.

Read ISMS Usage Policy

What is the ITSO Specification?

The ITSO Specification is a secure technical electronic platform on which smart ticketing schemes can be built. It defines how different smart ticketing systems should 'talk' to each other.

The ITSO Specification is unique in that it covers all components of transport smartcard schemes - media, point of service and back office systems. Copyright of the Specification belongs to The Crown. 

What is a POST?

A POST (Point of Service Terminal) is a terminal where the CM (Customer Media) is read/written to as appropriate to add products or value, to check the validity of products or to modify/remove products and or value. A POST contains an ISAM.

What is an ISAM?

An ISAM - ITSO Secure Application Module, is a secure electronic data processing module, the size of a mobile phone SIM card, which checks the card holder's permissions, authenticates and validates their electronic ticket, and stores journey data for further processing.

The ISAM 'talks' to the back office system (HOPS) through another security device called an HSAM (HOPS Secure Application Module). The HSAM is responsible for messages to the ISAMs which it looks after. The Primary HSAM in a system is known as the PHSAM. 

What is the ISMS?

The ITSO Security Management Service is the lead part of the ITSO security sub system which acts as the 'keeper of the keys', managing the provision of data access keys to the secure devices in ticketing machines and barriers (ISAMs).

What is a HOPS?

HOPS is the Host Operator or Processing System.  A key element of the back office system covering ITSO message handling, shell & product accounting, and Asset Management functions.  

What is the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme or ENCTS?

A national scheme funded and run by the Department for Transport and administered by Local Authorities across England. The scheme provides all eligible elderly English residents, and eligible disabled people, with free off-peak bus travel on weekdays and all day at weekends and Bank Holidays. Within Greater London the scheme is linked to the Freedom Pass which additionally allows access to London Underground, London Overground, Tramlink, Docklands Light Railway and National Rail services in Zones 1 to 6 at limited times. 

What is an ETM?

An Electronic Ticket Machine, also sometimes referred to as an Automatic Ticket Machine or Automatic Ticket Vending Machine

What is Customer Media?

Customer Media (CM) is the smart device which interacts with ticketing machines to pay for travel. It is usually a smartcard but could be a smart-enabled mobile phone or key fob.