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ITSO future ready for rail reform

ITSO welcomes the Department for Transport's Williams-Shapps strategy for rail, with its objective to encourage sustainable travel through Great British Railways as the country emerges from Covid-19.  

ITSO has been supporting sustainable travel through ‘contactless’ smart ticketing for approaching 20 years.  By leading the move from smartcards to digital ticketing, ITSO is uniquely positioned to support the wider drive towards Mobility as a Service and the integration of ticketing across multi modes. This strategy allows the traveller to move seamlessly between planning their journey, making payment and choosing the most appropriate modes of transport to use whether that be rail, bus, tram or other sustainable low carbon public transport.  

Whatever the mode of transport, ITSO ticket machines, readers and gates are already in widespread use.  ITSO has always been there to support the complete journey using a smartcard or app whether for a single journey or as part of a wider through journey. The ITSO Specification covers all aspects of ticketing whether advanced purchase, pay-as-you-go or a capped fare for all public transport use that day or week.  This month marks the arrival of flexible season tickets on rail to better support returning commuters to the network. Bundles of tickets valid for 28 days will enable passengers to travel on any eight days, simply tapping an ITSO smartcard or scanning a mobile at stations, with no need to select the days of travel in advance.  ITSO based flexi tickets have previously been used by train companies C2C and Southeastern so this is a natural evolution to the new national tickets. 

ITSO remain ready, willing and able to support the new ticketing and payment proposals outlined in the Department’s rail and bus strategies. We have a proven track record of working alongside journey planning, payment and real-time information to encourage a greater and sustainable future for bus travel and its contribution to environmental improvement and reduced carbon use. 

The Williams-Shapps Strategy rightly looks to innovation in IT, data and modern payments and to adopt global best practice in delivering future contactless ticketing schemes. ITSO is a founder member of the Smart Ticketing Alliance, an international not-for-profit organisation which it currently chairs.  This body has roles to support European Standards (CEN), the NFC Forum (representing mobile phones) and the MaaS Alliance on smart ticketing as well as the International Rail Organisation (UIC). ITSO is well positioned to leverage these roles to support the DfT and GBR.

Going forward, we look forward to working with Great British Railways and the Rail Transformation Programme as well as with other modes of transport to deliver a single integrated, world-class cost-effective solution to sustainable mobility.