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Britain's rail commuters are getting smarter

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has released new figures highlighting the move away from paper tickets on Britain’s rails, with half of all journeys now being taken using the now vintage ticketing system. According to rail industry figures, last month more train journey than ever before (65 million) were made with smart tickets, which is 8.4 million more journeys than the same time last year. This, incidentally, is saving over 1,100 km of paper a month.  

As more rail users opt for smart tickets over paper, the RDG has called for a full reform in the way we purchase and use tickets, saying that smart ticketing could pave the way for a better range of prices, more options and a more flexible and seamless way to travel.

We agree. Not only is the move to smart ticketing good for the environment, but it will lead the way to a more fully integrated transport system and ultimately, to delivering Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in UK cities.

What’s more, we can help. ITSO Ltd is the guardian of the ITSO Specification and widely recognised as the national smart ticketing standard. We offer the only nationwide, interoperable smart ticketing scheme across all modes of public transport and our secure technology is already in place across a large part of the UK’s railway network. The smartcard may be called Touch, The Key or c2c Smartcard, to name a few, but the technology behind it is ITSO's and we are well-placed to work with other transport operating companies to enable them to implement smarter ticketing technology.

Now we are working towards bringing smartcards to mobile devices in the UK rail network and stand ready to support the Rail Delivery Group in its mission to simplify fares and make travel a more affordable, seamless experience.

Having an infrastructure already in place that is compatible with mobile technology, such as one that uses the ITSO standard, will enable the implementation of trusted, secure and interoperable ticketing systems.

ITSO will be at next month’s Intelligent Transport Conference, taking place at Royal Lancaster Hotel on 5th and 6th November. It’s been almost a year since we launched ITSO on Mobile on West Midlands Metro through the Swift on Mobile app, and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Mobile ticketing puts transport back in the passenger’s control: they no longer need to queue, find change or carry a paper ticket. Passengers on West Midlands Metro say they now want to be able to use our mobile ticketing technology on trains.