TheTrainline unveils smartcard system

TheTrainline has demonstrated Trainline Smart, a smartcard system which it expects to account for up to 50% of rail ticket sales by 2012, reducing the need for paper tickets.

Trainline Smart uses ITSO technology, the Government defined standard for nationally accepted smart card ticketing in the UK which is being rolled-out in stages across all UK rail and bus journeys and will eventually be used as an upgrade to the London Underground Oyster smart ticketing system. The Trainline Smart functionality can even be added to a corporate charge card or security pass, removing the need to carry separate pieces of plastic.

Expected to be piloted later this year, rail passengers using Trainline Smart will be able to travel to and from all UK stations that accept smart ticketing. And, as all new rail franchises are now required by Government to adopt ITSO smartcard technology, UK rail travel will be achievable via smart card starting from 2009.

Booking and ticketing via Trainline Smart is simple. The ticket can be purchased via the website or via a mobile phone and then downloaded onto the smart card either at a smart target at stations or via an inexpensive smartcard reader / writer in the office or at home. The ticket is then validated in the normal way by smart-enabled ticket gates or by onboard train managers using a handheld reader.

Trainline Smart is ideal for business as for the first time corporates will be able to access information which combines tickets that were booked and journeys that were actually taken. Smart ticketing also has the potential to introduce more flexible pricing, with passengers being encouraged to use off-peak trains. Finally, it will increase business travel policy adherence as Trainline Smart’s ease of booking and fulfilment will reduce purchases from stations, particularly repeat purchases, which can be automated.
Adrian Watts, Director of Sales and Distribution, at TheTrainline says, “This is a massive step towards integrated national smart ticketing and we are very excited to be demonstrating the potential at the Travel Technology Show 2008. Not only will Trainline Smart remove the need for paper tickets, but as train operating companies begin to install smart enabled readers, only one card will be needed when travelling UK wide by rail, bus and London Underground.


“We expect more than 50% of all TheTrainline ticketing to be via ‘Smart’ by the 2012 London Olympics.”

TheTrainline also plans to adapt its own kiosks so rail passengers can top-up their smart cards by uploading tickets via a smart reader.