Smart ticket update

ITSReviewAnnual2015

Smart Ticket update How many of us have recently discovered that we don’t have enough cash to pay for something because we forgot to go to the ‘hole in the wall’ to top up our cash reserves? Why? Because some of us have inexorably moved towards the cashless society. We pop into our local shop on the way home to buy milk and it doesn’t really matter if we use our contactless debit card to pay the £1 for it. Need a book? Download it to your Kindle. Want to go to the cinema? Download the QR code to your smartphone and show it to the usher. On public transport, the story varies hugely. On some public transport we still need ‘the right change’ in our pockets, whereas on London buses 42 ITS REVIEW Annual Review 2015 you cannot pay with cash at all. Others have mobile phone ticketing or barcodes which can be shown to the bus driver or scanned on ticketing equipment. On rail, the majority of ticketing uses a piece of cardboard with a magnetic stripe which may, or may not, work on ticket gates and may, or may not, have been bought for the cheapest available fare. However, increasingly throughout the UK, you can get out your transport smartcard and tap it on the ticket machine to show you have enough cash to pay for the journey or have pre-loaded the right ticket. That could be an Oyster card in London or one of the many ITSO-based smartcards being used around the country, either for ‘free’ concessionary travel or commercial tickets. In some places these cards can just be used on one operator’s buses. In others one smartcard can be used on any bus in the area as well as the train, tram, ferry or hovercraft service. Politicians of all hues agree that a good, integrated public transport system with a reasonable fare structure has major potential to reduce congestion and CO2 emissions and stimulate the local economy – all big boxes they need to tick if they are doing their jobs well. They know that if they want to get people out of their cars and onto public transport they need to offer them a journey that is easy. They want the bus to come at the right time and to not have to wait too long if they have to change modes of transport – or walk too far between bus and train stations. They also want to be able to pay easily for those journeys in a way that is convenient for them, using a method they can trust, and be confident they will be charged the cheapest fare for that journey. That might be online from their home computer, via their ITSO: Smart ticketing has found itself at the heart of some very heated and controversial debates which have emerged about public transport over the past few months and in the run-up to the UK general election in May. Steve Wakeland, General Manager of ITSO Limited - which provides the national IT Specification for interoperable smart ticketing in the UK - gives an overview of the issues and an update on progress in this field to date. Steve Wakeland, General Manager, ITSO Limited


ITSReviewAnnual2015
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