Passengers travelling from all major stations across Britain – including Edinburgh Waverley, Glasgow Central, Waterloo, Brighton and Gatwick Airport – can now go paperless.
Newly installed smart ticketing technology is expected to make it quicker and easier for customers to buy tickets online, via their smartphones to store on their handset or a with a smartcard.
Smart ticketing is available at almost all mainline train stations across Britain, with ticket barriers and readers improved and installed at 890 stations to recognise smart tickets. By the end of April, nine in 10 tickets are expected to be available for sale to customers as smart tickets.
With smart ticket options now available with every train operator in Britain, the rail industry is working with government to progress its proposed reforms to the fares system which would allow passengers to make the most of the benefits.
Its first major submission to the Williams Rail Review put forward proposals which, with updates to regulation, pave the way for pay‐as‐you‐go price caps to be introduced across the country. On long‐distance journeys, it could enable a greater range of on‐the‐day fares for people to buy on their smartphone, giving them more options at a better range of prices.
The increased availability of smart tickets is already benefiting passenger by saving time as they can buy online from anywhere and can skip queues at ticket machines, with 22% of journeys in 2018 made on tickets bought online – up from 7% in 2013.
Train companies, the Department for Transport and national and regional transport bodies, including Transport for the North, have worked together to offer smart ticketing at almost all National Rail stations across Great Britain.
This included upgrading and installing gates and ticket readers at 890 stations to recognise smart tickets and speed up queues for buying tickets, for example at Britain’s busiest station, London Waterloo, which sees more than 94 million journeys to and from every year.
Robert Nisbet, regional director at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “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.
“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.”
This month the rail industry is installing new readers and computer software at Blackfriars, Watford Junction, City Thameslink, London Bridge, East Croydon and Shenfield to make it even quicker and easier for customers to use smart tickets. In May and June, there will be further upgrades at more stations particularly in Scotland, including Edinburgh Gateway, Bathgate and Glasgow Argyle Street.