Buying Tickets for Smartcard

themeone

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17 Feb 2011
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I recently got a smartcard from Southwestern, as I often travel from Redbridge station which has no ticket machine but does have a card reader.

The leaflet that came with the card says you can buy season tickets, carnets, single and returns for the smartcard. However, so far I've not been able to do this, as booking online with Southwestern there is no option to load tickets to a smartcard, not for singles and returns anyway.

I then checked here: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/train-tickets/smart-ticketing, where it doesn't mention singles or returns being available.

Can anyone tell me what's going on?
 
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mattdickinson

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I recently got a smartcard from Southwestern, as I often travel from Redbridge station which has no ticket machine but does have a card reader.

The leaflet that came with the card says you can buy season tickets, carnets, single and returns for the smartcard. However, so far I've not been able to do this, as booking online with Southwestern there is no option to load tickets to a smartcard, not for singles and returns anyway.

I then checked here: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/train-tickets/smart-ticketing, where it doesn't mention singles or returns being available.

Can anyone tell me what's going on?
As far as I know you can only load singles and return at outside London (non-Oyster) SWR TVMs.
 

swt_passenger

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We had a discussion about this issue on SWR before Christmas, but the thread wasn’t specifically titled as concerning SWR. I’m sure at that time “single and return” followed the word “daily” on that linked webpage. There’s no such thing as a daily season, after all. Previous discussion here:
https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/smartcards.175218/
The online SWR forums that I checked then reckoned that singles and returns were available, they had also been available earlier on the “SWT Smart” card...
 

themeone

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As far as I know you can only load singles and return at outside London (non-Oyster) SWR TVMs.
Sorry I meant Redbridge, Hants.

This is from the leaflet:

"When purchasing online or by phone you will need to choose a station to "collect" your ticket from, this can be any South Western Railway station. This can be in advance of your day of travel. Once at your chosen station you can then "collect" your ticket from a smartcard reader.

We offer a range of Season Tickets (Weekly, Monthly, Monthly Plus and Annual) on Touch smartcards. AutoRenewal Monthly Season Tickets, Carnet, Single and Returns tickets are also available on smartcards."
 

JP

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The whole smartcard system across TOCs seems a bit rubbish at this point. I got a Thameslink one recently and it doesn't work at my local station's ticket machines - outside London and the Oyster zones. Then when I tried it at Luton Airport Parkway it didn't offer the same tickets as getting a paper ticket, and also didn't allow all railcards to be used. I don't get it. I wanted it to work since I commute with daily return tickets so it'd save me 14 paper tickets per week, but it doesn't work.
 

BluePenguin

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The whole smartcard system across TOCs seems a bit rubbish at this point. I got a Thameslink one recently and it doesn't work at my local station's ticket machines - outside London and the Oyster zones. Then when I tried it at Luton Airport Parkway it didn't offer the same tickets as getting a paper ticket, and also didn't allow all railcards to be used. I don't get it. I wanted it to work since I commute with daily return tickets so it'd save me 14 paper tickets per week, but it doesn't work.
I tried a Southern one recently and was not impressed - I think it is the same as the Thameslink one? A lot of work still needs to be done. Currently it is impossible to use a smart card in more than one area. 14 paper tickets sounds like a lot. Just curious are you an off peak commuter? Buying daily tickets for every day sounds very confusing and complicated. I wouldn't be able to organise which tickets I needed for what days of the week personally!
 

JP

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I tried a Southern one recently and was not impressed - I think it is the same as the Thameslink one? A lot of work still needs to be done. Currently it is impossible to use a smart card in more than one area. 14 paper tickets sounds like a lot. Just curious are you an off peak commuter? Buying daily tickets for every day sounds very confusing and complicated. I wouldn't be able to organise which tickets I needed for what days of the week personally!
Yeah my office is flexible so I can take the first off peak train and use a railcard, which doesn't get to work much later than normal, but saves a lot compared to an anytime or season ticket. I just buy a week's worth of tickets in advance online and print them all on a Monday morning in the station. I'd definitely rather use the smartcard, which is why I ordered it.
 

Mainline421

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7 May 2013
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There is a "Only fares that can be loaded onto an ITSO SmartCard" option on the Mixing Deck at https://tickets.southwesternrailway.com but there appears to be no way to actually load them onto a smartcard online! Returns and singles are available from TVMs with railcard discounts since the SWT days but not Super Off Peak fares so often more expensive, especially at weekends. Doesn't look like it's possible to use it from Redbridge ATM (though it should be possible on tickets to RDB).

We're in a strange situation where while SWR are really pushing Touch/smart for seasons and offers a facility to add daily tickets on top they don't appear to encourage people to use it. The journey I most commonly used this facility on now only offers seasons on TVM at my local station and hasn't been fixed for weeks, but singles/returns still show for all other journeys. Meanwhile guards often seem surprised to see a smartcard at all so they can't be that common in certain areas of the network. When I touched in at Tisbury once there were literally cobwebs on the reader! Still worked thankfully.
 

themeone

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17 Feb 2011
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I remember getting a few day returns from East Croydon to Oxted on Southern's key card a few years back, and it all seemed to work perfectly.

I was expecting things to have moved on from those days, but perhaps each TOC is at a different stage.

There is a "Only fares that can be loaded onto an ITSO SmartCard" option on the Mixing Deck at https://tickets.southwesternrailway.com but there appears to be no way to actually load them onto a smartcard online!
That was exactly my experience, so it seems the option to only show fares that can be loaded onto an ITSO SmartCard is currently redundant.
 

mattdickinson

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There is a "Only fares that can be loaded onto an ITSO SmartCard" option on the Mixing Deck at https://tickets.southwesternrailway.com but there appears to be no way to actually load them onto a smartcard online! Returns and singles are available from TVMs with railcard discounts since the SWT days but not Super Off Peak fares so often more expensive, especially at weekends. Doesn't look like it's possible to use it from Redbridge ATM (though it should be possible on tickets to RDB).

We're in a strange situation where while SWR are really pushing Touch/smart for seasons and offers a facility to add daily tickets on top they don't appear to encourage people to use it. The journey I most commonly used this facility on now only offers seasons on TVM at my local station and hasn't been fixed for weeks, but singles/returns still show for all other journeys. Meanwhile guards often seem surprised to see a smartcard at all so they can't be that common in certain areas of the network. When I touched in at Tisbury once there were literally cobwebs on the reader! Still worked thankfully.
It does appear to be possible using the Chiltern smartcard but I haven't received it yet so I can't test that.
 

andrewkeith5

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I remember getting a few day returns from East Croydon to Oxted on Southern's key card a few years back, and it all seemed to work perfectly.

I was expecting things to have moved on from those days, but perhaps each TOC is at a different stage.



That was exactly my experience, so it seems the option to only show fares that can be loaded onto an ITSO SmartCard is currently redundant.
You do have to be logged in to an account with a linked smart card before you start booking, in case that’s why...
 

leshuttle

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Went to use southeastern's The Key this weekend for a day return - worked fine on the outward into Victoria but travelled back from Brixton that only had Oyster machines which didn't recognise when I tapped-in.
 

andrewkeith5

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Went to use southeastern's The Key this weekend for a day return - worked fine on the outward into Victoria but travelled back from Brixton that only had Oyster machines which didn't recognise when I tapped-in.
What ticket did you have loaded onto the smartcard? I’ve had no problems with my ITSO Key card working on Oyster readers with a Travelcard loaded.
 

mattdickinson

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57 on the standalone one and just to test out also, the ticket machine didn't recognise it.
I would suspect that break of journey on ITSO is not supported by the gates.

The only National Rail ticket machines in London that recognise ITSO cards are the GWR TVMs at Paddington (GWR cards only), EMT TVMs at St Pancras (EMT cards only) and the Stansted Express TVMs at Liverpool Street (Greater Anglia, c2c and Southeastern cards only). London Underground TVMs can be used to check what's on an ITSO card.
 

andrewkeith5

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57 on the standalone one and just to test out also, the ticket machine didn't recognise it.
My guess is that it's only interested in Travelcards. There's no particular need to touch in there if you have a valid ticket loaded onto an ITSO card.

The ticket machine won't recognise the card - TfL Oyster TVMs aren't ITSO compatible.

It could be a number of things, but I suspect that it's probably a long way down on the list of things to fix as it won't stop anyone travelling.
 

i4n

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I would suspect that break of journey on ITSO is not supported by the gates.

The only National Rail ticket machines in London that recognise ITSO cards are the GWR TVMs at Paddington (GWR cards only), EMT TVMs at St Pancras (EMT cards only) and the Stansted Express TVMs at Liverpool Street (Greater Anglia, c2c and Southeastern cards only). London Underground TVMs can be used to check what's on an ITSO card.
I'd second your suspicion (and also add St P SE platform barriers to the list). I have my annual season with Southeastern on a Key and get a 57 on my local stations barriers (in and out) because I get the ticket from a few stations further on down the line so I can go to my parents and it's the same price for the year. I also have Z1 - Z6 travel card on it and that works fine in all the zones I've tested it on so I'm guessing the barriers or Key haven't been programmed to allow BOJ.

As I haven't been sent my record card yet, it does make it fun explaining to the gateline staff that I've got a valid ticket! I had to take one of them to the ticket vending machine the other day to prove it. I've got a query in with SE at the moment about it as I'm not really looking forward to the best part of a year having to ask to be let in and out.
 

kristiang85

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I had so many problems with my SWR smartcard (machines not able to load on, website not letting me load them on, getting them on the card but taking days to register, ticket office staff telling me a blank no when I asked them for help, ticket checkers not working, London buses not accepting travelcards, etc.) I went back to paper and my life is infinitely easier again.
 

andrewkeith5

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I had so many problems with my SWR smartcard (machines not able to load on, website not letting me load them on, getting them on the card but taking days to register, ticket office staff telling me a blank no when I asked them for help, ticket checkers not working, London buses not accepting travelcards, etc.) I went back to paper and my life is infinitely easier again.
When was that?

I have a Thameslink Key Smartcard, and so far it's worked perfectly, including on TfL services (well, except for the reader I'd chosen failing to confirm the ticket had loaded, which was because I collected it before it's validity started).
 

kristiang85

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When was that?

I have a Thameslink Key Smartcard, and so far it's worked perfectly, including on TfL services (well, except for the reader I'd chosen failing to confirm the ticket had loaded, which was because I collected it before it's validity started).
I presume Thameslink and SWR use different technology?
 

Joe Paxton

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Underneath it’s all ITSO, they may have different back ends I guess.

That’s why I asked when you were referring to - an awful lot has changed in the last five years or so that’s made the cards much more reliable and practical.
Compared to the fairly smooth rollout of Oyster in London in the early to mid-noughties, the big railway's efforts feel like a right shambles. We've had the great promise of the ITSO smartcard ticketing revolution for the best part of the last decade!

(Yes, it took until 2010 for Oyster PAYG to come to National Rail in London, but that was also down to the intransigence of the big railway too.)
 

kristiang85

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Underneath it’s all ITSO, they may have different back ends I guess.

That’s why I asked when you were referring to - an awful lot has changed in the last five years or so that’s made the cards much more reliable and practical.
Ah OK. All my problems were in 2018; after persisting for 7-8 months i just gave up and went back to paper. SWR's customer service on it was pretty cruddy as well, so I just went back to basics for an easier life. Its not like it costs any more when I'm mostly dealing in season tickets.
 

kristiang85

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To add to my post above, I see on Twitter today SWR are telling customers that there is a 2-week wait for their tickets to be loaded onto Smartcards; thank heavens I've stayed away from them this year.
 

andrewkeith5

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Compared to the fairly smooth rollout of Oyster in London in the early to mid-noughties, the big railway's efforts feel like a right shambles. We've had the great promise of the ITSO smartcard ticketing revolution for the best part of the last decade!

(Yes, it took until 2010 for Oyster PAYG to come to National Rail in London, but that was also down to the intransigence of the big railway too.)
In fairness, the initial Oyster rollout was a much simpler affair. The fares structure is significantly less complex, and there was no requirement for interoperability.

The ITSO rollout has to play to the ridiculously complex world of National Rail fares, and worse than that has to ultimately be compatible across operators. The combinations and permutations of fares are immeasurably higher, and on top of that it has to interoperable across back end systems and even transport modes. It's not an impossible task, but it does take a very, very long time to get right.

Even bus operators are all trying totally different things with ITSO cards. The thought of how difficult it would be to get different parts of the train industry to interoperate with each other doesn't bear thinking about! I very much doubt it'd be any easier in a nationalised world either, before anyone plays that card...
 

andrewkeith5

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Ah OK. All my problems were in 2018; after persisting for 7-8 months i just gave up and went back to paper. SWR's customer service on it was pretty cruddy as well, so I just went back to basics for an easier life. Its not like it costs any more when I'm mostly dealing in season tickets.
Ohh I see, that's not so good then. I would muse that perhaps it's to do with First taking over from Stagecoach and needing to move to their own backend system. Presumably it didn't go well for them...I believe it's probably the first time that's had to happen isn't it?
 

kristiang85

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Ohh I see, that's not so good then. I would muse that perhaps it's to do with First taking over from Stagecoach and needing to move to their own backend system. Presumably it didn't go well for them...I believe it's probably the first time that's had to happen isn't it?
Yes they brought them in last year, but if anything the bugs in the system seem to be getting worse. Even the guards would say they are fed up with them.
 

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