Chiltern Railways is to begin testing Bluetooth technology that detects travellers via their smartphone and automatically deducts the right fares for their journey from December 2016.
The pilot will involve about 60 passengers testing hands-free ticketing between five stations from Oxford Parkway to London Marylebone.
The trial will use ‘beacons’ which register passengers as they step on to a train and exit a station, debiting their bank account accordingly.
Chiltern Railways MD Dave Penney, says that the scheme, part funded by the Rail Safety and transport Board, “could be the next evolution of rail ticketing”.
The project is one of a batch of proposals to introduce paperless ticketing across the country's rail network.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators and Network Rail, has piloted new barcoded m-tickets delivered direct to passenger smartphones at more than 230 stations in the north of England, Scotland and the Midlands, and wants it to be available nationwide within the next three years.
Rail operators have also agreed to fund a joint project with the UK Cards Association to explore how contactless cards and devices could support long-distance train tickets or season tickets, so passengers no longer have to print out tickets.