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Avanti West Coast implements new smartcard bureau with Paragon ID

Avanti West Coast, the operators of the West Coast Mainline service in the UK, owned by First Group and Trenitalia has selected Paragon ID to provide a smartcard bureau service to produce rail passenger season tickets in the form of hard plastic smart cards. 

Following a successful trial with a selected group of passengers, the new service has now been launched to Avanti’s customers, enabling travellers to tap-in and tap-out on each journey using a smart card without the need for paper season tickets.

This project forms part of Avanti’s initiative to move passengers away from traditional paper tickets and the company plans to encourage all season ticket holders to use smart cards, which can then be loaded with rail travel tickets. 

This new project builds on the existing relationship between the two companies, as Paragon ID already provides ITSO ticketing products.

Avanti’s stations will be able to access and manage their new smart card requirements conveniently via Paragon ID’s PEP online platform alongside their current marketing and ticketing catalogue. The central PEP portal is being used by all train operating companies (TOCs) and third-party retailers TPRs including Avanti as part of the central ticketing contract, and is designed to reduce both administration time and costs. 

Certified to ISO9001 and for PersoPOST, Paragon ID’s bureau offers all forms of card production including litho, digital printing and desktop printing. With extensive knowledge of ITSO card production and encoding the company has so far produced over 2.5 million ITSO cards.

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, said “The introduction of the smartcard scheme will allow passengers to choose a modern alternative to the paper ticket, providing simpler journeys and reducing time spent in stations. As we build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, this Government is committed to smarter ticketing. Avanti’s scheme will allow for more convenient travel and will improve the passenger experience once it is safe to return to the railways.”

Sarah McLaughlin, Account Director at Paragon ID, states: "We are delighted to build on our strong relationship with Avanti West Coast and work with them on this exciting new project to support the roll out of smart ticketing across the UK network.”

Sarah Copley, Executive Director, Commercial at Avanti West Coast said: “We are really pleased to be introducing this smartcard for our customers, especially those using season tickets, as a convenient way of travelling and saving time in the process. As we have seen with digital ticketing, the smartcard will enhance customer experience as well as remove the need for multiple paper tickets which has an obvious impact on sustainability.”