Nine out of ten train tickets to be available in paperless form - MSE News

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Customers will be able to store nine out of 10 rail tickets on mobiles or smart cards as new technology is rolled out this month...
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'Nine out of ten train tickets to be available in paperless form'
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  • bubieyehyeh
    bubieyehyeh Posts: 587 Forumite
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    I've been able to buy smartcard ticket for a while, but the various additional restrictions put me off.


    The main one is the smartcard aren't generally interoperable between train companies.



    For the 2nd leg of a regular journey, I can use Southern or London Overground trains. With a paper ticket I can use either, but apprently not with the same ticket on a southern smartcard.



    A non-travelcard ticket held on a southern smartcard can't be used on London Overground according to GTR, apparently because London overground can't check the ticket. So while the smartcard is valid on both train companies, there is a risk of hassle at a london overground ticket check.
  • surreysaver
    surreysaver Posts: 4,142 Forumite
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    edited 10 April 2019 at 3:58PM
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    I would be wary of using a smartcard, as you haven't got anything on you that tells you what the ticket says. You just have to hope it works.
    You could end up being stranded, having to pay out for another ticket or fined (sorry - issued with a penalty fare) if it doesn't work.
    The rail industry has history of not working together and not making things work. The fact that each company already has its own smartcard products that are not interoperable is testimony to that.
    I consider myself to be a male feminist. Is that allowed?
  • stragglebod
    stragglebod Posts: 1,324 Forumite
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    I'm normally the first person to opt for digital over paper, but it makes no sense with train tickets.


    Every operator seems to have a different app, you don't get any discount for using the app and in most cases the ticket you get has less validity than a paper ticket as you can only use one operator's trains.


    The etickets tend to be a faff to buy, it's usually quicker and simpler to use a ticket machine at the station, and the apps are rubbish so you'll spend ages by the barriers waiting for your ticket to appear in the app so you can show it to the inspector.
  • tealady
    tealady Posts: 3,751 Forumite
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    I travel regularly by rail and always print out my paper ticket.
    That way if my mobile dies or I lose it I still have proof I have paid.
    Find out who you are and do that on purpose (thanks to Owain Wyn Jones quoting Dolly Parton)
  • scones
    scones Posts: 58 Forumite
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    I'm not sure why government has such an obsession with forcing train companies to offer smartcards for train tickets when in 9 out 10 cases they offer no extra benefit to the customer.

    Pay-and-go smartcards like Oyster in London are a good idea for urban, short-distance travel - but I'd expect them to be largely superseded by contactless bank cards in the next few years.

    For longer distance journeys nobody's going to want to just 'touch in' without knowing in advance what they might be charged, so you're always going to need to go through some kind of journey selection or ticket buying process whether that's online or at a ticket office. In light of that, surely it's always going to be quicker and cheaper to offer print-at-home or download-to-phone options than get somebody to go through the rigmarole of acquiring a smartcard in advance and then loading the ticket to it upon arrival at the station?

    From a money-saving point of view, I think the real thing to watch out for is smartcards chipping away at passenger rights. For example:
    1. If you're forced to activate each ticket by touching-in at a station, this will make split-ticketing much more difficult and force people to buy overpriced through fares where cheaper alternatives exist.
    2. Flexible tickets commonly allow you to break your journey at any point on the route - I bet this could easily be removed as 'too complicated to implement' on smartcards

    I'd also say a printed piece of paper (or even a email PDF ticket) is much more reassuring for me as a passenger - it's clear and visible proof of the journey I've paid for. Contrast this with the Arriva bus smartcard I had where they wrongly expired my travel pass three months early but I had no way to prove this to the driver!
  • glider3560
    glider3560 Posts: 4,115 Forumite
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    I would be wary of using a smartcard, as you haven't got anything on you that tells you what the ticket says. You just have to hope it works.
    You could end up being stranded, having to pay out for another ticket or fined (sorry - issued with a penalty fare) if it doesn't work.
    The rail industry has history of not working together and not making things work. The fact that each company already has its own smartcard products that are not interoperable is testimony to that.

    This happened to me. Bought a weekly Travelcard (combined with my train travel to London) on a SWR smartcard. Didn't work on a London Bus. Driver told me to use another card. Told him I already paid. He didn't believe me. Either had to wait for the next one, or pay again.

    I've heard similar stories from others, who have found some Oyster readers in London (sometimes just one reader on a gateline) won't read National Rail smartcards.

    As others say, you still get a lot of hassle using these across train companies, and sometimes at intermediate stations depending on TOC.

    I ditched the smartcard and switched back to paper. OK, you have to replace it every few months because it stops working or fades, but at least you always have proof of the ticket you hold.
  • DigForVictory
    DigForVictory Posts: 11,912 Forumite
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    Me I travel across countries & using different rail companies (best to date 4 in 1 day).
    No way am I going to keep all that rolling with electronics until every seat has a USB port & even then.
    I'm no Luddite, I earn a crust as a digital employee, just I can't see this working.

    Plus it'll be my creditcard whilst things get sorted & that is not what I buy tickets for.
  • Nicholas
    Nicholas Posts: 630 Forumite
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    I don't know if there are any real benefits to a mobile ticket loaded onto a mobile phone - especially if the phone broke or ran out of juice at the wrong moment, but purely from an academic point of view I have a question:

    Most apps only let you buy a m-ticket (mobile ticket) to download on your phone if you travel alone. Trainline, on the other hand, allows you to go for the m-ticket option even if two are travelling together. So presumably, that will be one ticket loaded on the lead passengers phone. Here's the question:
    How do you get through the automated barrier? Do you use your phone to scan the first person through and then yourself, or do you need to wait for assistance?

    As I said, just curious, especially as all of this 'e' this and 'e' that seems to be coming in just lately.
  • glider3560
    glider3560 Posts: 4,115 Forumite
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    Nicholas wrote: »
    I don't know if there are any real benefits to a mobile ticket loaded onto a mobile phone - especially if the phone broke or ran out of juice at the wrong moment, but purely from an academic point of view I have a question:

    Most apps only let you buy a m-ticket (mobile ticket) to download on your phone if you travel alone. Trainline, on the other hand, allows you to go for the m-ticket option even if two are travelling together. So presumably, that will be one ticket loaded on the lead passengers phone. Here's the question:
    How do you get through the automated barrier? Do you use your phone to scan the first person through and then yourself, or do you need to wait for assistance?

    As I said, just curious, especially as all of this 'e' this and 'e' that seems to be coming in just lately.
    You get two barcodes: one for each person.

    I'm not sure whether they let you transfer tickets between phones. If that's the case, you can each have your own ticket on your own phone. Otherwise you'd have to pass the phone back over the barriers.
  • Nicholas
    Nicholas Posts: 630 Forumite
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    glider3560 wrote: »
    You get two barcodes: one for each person.

    I'm not sure whether they let you transfer tickets between phones. If that's the case, you can each have your own ticket on your own phone. Otherwise you'd have to pass the phone back over the barriers.

    Thanks for the quick reply. I wonder if they would let you scan the other person through first (holding on to your own phone) and then scan yourself through with the second barcode?
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