UK plans to ditch paper transport tickets for mobile phones and bank cards

UK plans to ditch paper transport tickets for mobile phones and bank cards

The UK government is proposing the introduction of an England-wide smart ticketing system that will let travellers pay for bus and train journeys using their NFC-enabled bank cards and mobile phones.

The national plans come in the wake of London's successful Oyster card system, which is now used for 78% of bus and tube journeys.

Central to the plan is a national ticketing infrastructure using the government-backed ITSO smartcard specification which will enable 'tickets' to work anywhere in the country.

Travellers could then use mobile phones and bank cards to pay directly for journeys by tapping them against specially equipped readers.

The department for transport estimates that the benefits of a universal 'integrated smart' system could be as much as £2 billion per year through improved journey times and faster, more convenient and reliable purchasing and use of tickets, with benefits for local government and operators too.

Transport Minister Sadiq Khan, transport minister, says: "We know that passengers want quicker journeys and better reliability, and smart ticketing will help us do that. We could see the end to waiting in line at ticket machines, while buses could spend half the amount of time sitting at the bus stop waiting for people to board and looking for the right change. In some cases, direct payments may even do away with the need for a ticket at all."

Jonathan Bray, director, passenger transport executive group support unit, adds: "Oystercard has become intrinsic to London life - passengers have a right to expect a similar deal in the next tier of major urban areas."

Transport for London recently revealed the Oyster card could be dumped by 2010 in favour of a system that uses mobile phones or bank cards.

A consultation on the ticketing proposals can be found here.

Comments: (4)

Nick Collin
Nick Collin - Collin Consulting Ltd - London 23 August, 2009, 13:08Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I'm surprised no-one's commented on this yet. The consultation document is actually quite good, and the vision of an integrated, interoperable, smart ticketing and transport system is entirely sensible and worth investing in. However, there are some curious gaps when it come to questions like the involvement of banks and existing payment systems, and particularly the importance of the EMV standard. I'm biased of course, given my background in bank cards, but I've always envisaged the evolution of smart ticketing solutions as added value applications on top of the existing EMV chip & PIN infrastructure - with obvious benefits in terms of economies of scale of both cards and terminals, interoperability, and integration with existing bank payment systems. The government seems to have an upside down version of this vision, with a new infrastructure based on ITSO, and the EMV standard and EMV-based payment as optional extras - almost an afterthought. What do people think?

Andrew Churchill
Andrew Churchill - Technology Strategy - London 26 August, 2009, 18:14Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Nick,

Go on then, I'll bite - transport ticketing is universal - EMV/Chip & PIN is not. EMV/Chip & PIN have many security flaws ....

Nick Collin
Nick Collin - Collin Consulting Ltd - London 31 August, 2009, 11:47Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Andrew,

More of a nibble than a bite :-).  Interesting!  So you envisage a new infrastructure with new cards and new terminals?  But surely no-one's going to stop us from using our existing EMV bankcards on that infrastructure, so the terminals will have to be EMV compliant, so you might as well build the whole thing on the back of the EMV infrastructure in the first place.

 

Andrew Churchill
Andrew Churchill - Technology Strategy - London 31 August, 2009, 13:13Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Nick,

Comment moving onto new thread on Home office m-payment announcement as I want to draw the two issues together ...

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