Have TfL been told to accept e-tickets?

Belperpete

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The obvious solution surely is to amend the TfL gates so that they accept e ticket barcodes. This would require funding from DfT, as TfL don't have the funds to do it. If DfT really want to abolish card tickets, then they need to find the cash to do it.

An alternative might be to have machines that would read the e ticket and issue you with a card ticket purely to get you through the tube. But again, someone would need to pay for them, and better to pay for a proper solution.
 
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PeterC

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How many travellers actually buy one ticket for a journey that involves crossing London. I know that on my last few trips involving a cross London transfer I had an advance for the main section and a separate ticket for the home to zone 1 section. Before I retired I would use a season or travelcard for the home leg of the journey.

To be honest I don't think that I was even aware that you could buy a ticket that included the cross London transfer before I started visiting forums like this.

Should you be able to buy a through ticket form Alresford to Aylesbury? Definitely!
Should it include the transfer from Liverpool Street to Marylebone - totally agnostic.
 

JonathanH

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Should you be able to buy a through ticket form Alresford to Aylesbury? Definitely!
Should it include the transfer from Liverpool Street to Marylebone - totally agnostic.
If we look at that journey

An off-peak day return from Alresford (Essex) to Aylesbury is £48.30

An off-peak day return from Alresford to London is £35.60
An off-peak day return from London to Aylesbury is £23.70
Two singles on the Underground are £4.80

I make that £64.10

Alternatively,

An off-peak day travelcard from Alresford is £47.00
An off-peak day return from Boundary Zone 6 to Aylesbury is £14.90 (only valid via Chalfont & Latimer)

I make that £61.90.

I am not sure it is right to be agnostic about the cross-London transfer but appreciate that both London Underground and the National Rail services need to generate more revenue in stealth ways going forward and cross-London travel looks like a very easy place to get some more revenue. They certainly aren't going to reduce the cost of the ticket from Arlesford to Aylesbury by £4.80 to compensate for the loss of cross-London travel.
 

Hadders

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Loads of people buy tickets that include cross London travel. In many cases it's the most appropriate and cheapest way.

I find it a pain having to pay separately to cross Paris when travelling on a through ticket in France. I do hope we don't go down that route.
 

paul1609

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I don't think abolishing through tickets is necessary. Just take away the Tube element, so you pay for that, a taxi, a Sadiq cycle or your shoe leather yourself as desired. It's no longer a faff because there is no need to visit a ticket machine for it.
It is currently because none of the SouthEastern and very few of the Southern barriers accept e tickets. If you look at the acceptance of e tickets for those TOCs its generally not worth it unless Tfl accept it for travelcards as outside of the Oyster Area that is their number 1 product. Income for tickets through to Regional Express destinations is minimal by comparison and probably decreasing all the time as people split in London to obtain the cheaper advance tickets available to/from there.
 

paul1609

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If we look at that journey

An off-peak day return from Alresford (Essex) to Aylesbury is £48.30

An off-peak day return from Alresford to London is £35.60
An off-peak day return from London to Aylesbury is £23.70
Two singles on the Underground are £4.80

I make that £64.10

Alternatively,

An off-peak day travelcard from Alresford is £47.00
An off-peak day return from Boundary Zone 6 to Aylesbury is £14.90 (only valid via Chalfont & Latimer)

I make that £61.90.

I am not sure it is right to be agnostic about the cross-London transfer but appreciate that both London Underground and the National Rail services need to generate more revenue in stealth ways going forward and cross-London travel looks like a very easy place to get some more revenue. They certainly aren't going to reduce the cost of the ticket from Arlesford to Aylesbury by £4.80 to compensate for the loss of cross-London travel.
Alternatively,
Alresford to Brentwood off peak day return £20.10
Swanley to London Off Peak Travelcard AAA Zones 7-9 £15.00
Amersham to Aylesbury Off peak day return £11.30
Total £46.40 admittedly trains have to stop at Brentwood.

or Alresford to Stratford London off peak day return £30.00 and then as above total £56.30
 

JonathanH

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Alternatively,
Alresford to Brentwood off peak day return £20.10
Swanley to London Off Peak Travelcard AAA Zones 7-9 £15.00
Amersham to Aylesbury Off peak day return £11.30
Total £46.40 admittedly trains have to stop at Brentwood.
Very good, but I don't think a future PAYG system or e-tickets that have to be 'composted' are going to come up with that combination. The introduction of e-tickets would lend itself very well to the need for 'compostage'. What you suggest takes account of the current flexibility of paper tickets which is what the government seem (perhaps inadvertently) determined to remove.
 

alistairlees

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The obvious solution surely is to amend the TfL gates so that they accept e ticket barcodes. This would require funding from DfT, as TfL don't have the funds to do it. If DfT really want to abolish card tickets, then they need to find the cash to do it.

An alternative might be to have machines that would read the e ticket and issue you with a card ticket purely to get you through the tube. But again, someone would need to pay for them, and better to pay for a proper solution.
This is obviously not the solution, because barcode tickets take around twice the time to pass through gates as contactless do (rates of around 15 per minute and 33 per minute from studies that have been done, from memory). The reduced flowthrough means that TfL can't meet their safety cases. It might be the solution for a select number of aisles at only LU stations that are adjacent to London Terminals, if space permits, there is adequate signage, and customers are communicated with so that they know what to do. It is very expensive to add barcode readers to gates by the way and, given the quantity on LU, the case would have to be very good.

In both cases it would enable the retirement of CCST as a fulfilment type, and the consequent removal of magnetic readers from LU gatelines though. So a significant saving there over the long term.

The best solution, from both a customer and a cost perspective, is to not enable any LU gates with barcode readers, but instead to remove the "LU transfer" validity of tickets that pass through London, reducing the price of those tickets by £3.00 / £2.00 / £1.50 (adult / railcard / child; double these for return tickets), and changing the route code to "Not valid on London Underground or DLR" (or similar). They would still be valid on Thameslink, where appropriate to the route.

In this scenario, no through tickets would be lost; the message to customers would be very clear and simple; TfL would not have to spend millions on barcode readers; magnetic stripe readers could be removed; and most people would actually be better off (an adult would typically see their fare reduce by 60p). I realise that not everyone would be better off - railcard holders, especially in groups such as with a Family & Friends railcard, spring to mind. But it's impossible to change how things are done and make everyone better off, unless you increase subsidies massive (unlikely at the moment!).

Travelcards would be smartcard-only products (anyone without one will need to get one, which I do realise is not going to help their sales), and fares to London Zonal destinations would either also be smartcard-only products or, perhaps, cease to exist.
 

hkstudent

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Apart from the tiny number of people who would wish to transfer between stations by means other than the Underground, I cannot see what the advantage is in this. I sincerely hope that you do not bemoan the lack, or abolition, of through ticketing anywhere else. I mean, with the almost universal acceptance of contactless on buses now, what is the point of plusbus?
Plusbus is a cheaper product than the usual bus day tickets.
 

paul1609

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I'd guess not that many people actually use PlusBus as a day rover ticket though. In our area Rye PlusBus I'm told 90% + of tickets are issued to people who make a single journey or a single return journey from Rye to Camber Sands for one of the holiday camps/ caravan parks who advertise the through train and bus ticket in their brochures.
 

paul1609

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Very good, but I don't think a future PAYG system or e-tickets that have to be 'composted' are going to come up with that combination. The introduction of e-tickets would lend itself very well to the need for 'compostage'. What you suggest takes account of the current flexibility of paper tickets which is what the government seem (perhaps inadvertently) determined to remove.
Realistically they don't come up with that combination now. The Key smartcard can have up to 5 tickets at anyone time so theres no technical reason you couldnt have split tickets on the smartcard or still have smartcard through fares, its not an argument for the acceptance of e tickets within the network card area.
 
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If you look at what other nations and systems have gone with, many of them have gone with some combination of eliminating mag-stripes, or physical single-use tickets, or other combinations. As we all know, mag-stripes are not particularly reliable and a lot of the orange card stock we currently rely on is a pain to recycle. You then have the feeder mechanisms for the mag-stripe tickets - plenty of ticket gates suffer jams on a regular basis, and need the bins emptied on a regular basis. At this point, switching to some combination of e-ticketing and smart-card ticketing seems like a natural evolution.

TfL are going to struggle with e-tickets in QR barcode format. A few providers have been experimenting with NFC-emulated cards and those could work with TfL's existing readers, but for QR-based tickets to be accepted, you'd likely need to replace quite a number of "legacy" gatelines that still exist on the Underground, particularly at places such as South Kensington.

What I think is amazing now is that the Dutch are looking at their OV-chipkaart system and considering what the "next" evolution is. They finished their rollout in 2012, and now they see the move to bank cards and Mobile Phones as the next stage, and that the chipkaart itself is an "outdated" concept. This wouldn't be difficult for them to achieve, because the most it would require is a software patch to their gatelines, as well as perhaps a back-office modification and an update to the readers used by their guards and revenue inspectors.

They're probably not wrong. It just goes to demonstrate that just as our TOCs have finished introducing some type of Smartcard, how far behind the UK really is in terms of ticketing. We need to stop playing catch-up and come up with a future-proof and flexible system nationwide. I feel like the current state of rail ticketing in the UK is another one of Grayling's messes that Shapps has the great pleasure of unpicking.
 

Wallsendmag

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The obvious solution surely is to amend the TfL gates so that they accept e ticket barcodes. This would require funding from DfT, as TfL don't have the funds to do it. If DfT really want to abolish card tickets, then they need to find the cash to do it.

An alternative might be to have machines that would read the e ticket and issue you with a card ticket purely to get you through the tube. But again, someone would need to pay for them, and better to pay for a proper solution.
DfT don't fund TfL though
 

biko

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What I think is amazing now is that the Dutch are looking at their OV-chipkaart system and considering what the "next" evolution is. They finished their rollout in 2012, and now they see the move to bank cards and Mobile Phones as the next stage, and that the chipkaart itself is an "outdated" concept. This wouldn't be difficult for them to achieve, because the most it would require is a software patch to their gatelines, as well as perhaps a back-office modification and an update to the readers used by their guards and revenue inspectors.

They're probably not wrong. It just goes to demonstrate that just as our TOCs have finished introducing some type of Smartcard, how far behind the UK really is in terms of ticketing. We need to stop playing catch-up and come up with a future-proof and flexible system nationwide. I feel like the current state of rail ticketing in the UK is another one of Grayling's messes that Shapps has the great pleasure of unpicking.
Actually, in the Netherlands, they are looking at implementing a contactless system as in London. There was a test some time ago with contactless cards and new validators were needed, so I am not so sure it is just an update to the existing systems. They want to apply railcards to contactless cards by using a central database, but it can take some years before it will be functioning. I think the biggest problem in the UK is the different pricing for different routes, which means it's needed to check the route that somebody took. In the Netherlands, this is solved by touching in and out per operator, but there is a lot of criticism on this as many people forget to touch out and in again when connecting between different operators' trains.
 

cactustwirly

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There is a third option - keep the fare as it is and remove the ability to use the underground for connections.

The short distance stuff can be dealt with by PAYG extension (to the distance envisaged in the DfT's consultation). The longer distance stuff, which typically involves a journey on a long distance train is simply dealt with by rebooking from London - using PAYG to get to London from the Home Counties.
Which is significantly more expensive than a cross London advance, and limits the amount of trains you can take because of peak restrictions.
 

cactustwirly

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I don't think abolishing through tickets is necessary. Just take away the Tube element, so you pay for that, a taxi, a Sadiq cycle or your shoe leather yourself as desired. It's no longer a faff because there is no need to visit a ticket machine for it.
What about if you're travelling as a family, and don't have Oyster?
Kids aren't gonna have contactless cards, and if they did they would get charged the full adult fare.
 

JonathanH

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What about if you're travelling as a family, and don't have Oyster?
Kids aren't gonna have contactless cards, and if they did they would get charged the full adult fare.
Children are free on TfL services for the time being (although some element of this is meant to be stopping as part of the bailout deal).
 

35B

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Children are free on TfL services for the time being (although some element of this is meant to be stopping as part of the bailout deal).
If the parent has registered them for a free card in sufficient time for the journey - IMHO one of the biggest weaknesses from a customer perspective in the Oyster implementation, as it deliberately discriminates against casual travellers.
 

Bletchleyite

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If the parent has registered them for a free card in sufficient time for the journey - IMHO one of the biggest weaknesses from a customer perspective in the Oyster implementation, as it deliberately discriminates against casual travellers.
There is a big gap in terms of TfL ticketing with regard to non-London-resident teenagers - they really could do with solving that in some way.
 

35B

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There is a big gap in terms of TfL ticketing with regard to non-London-resident teenagers - they really could do with solving that in some way.
They could. But I raise the point because the approach taken by TfL has been profoundly customer unfriendly, and driven as I see it by the belief that customers may be disadvantaged where they do not fit within the specific norm that the solution is designed for. Options involving withdrawal of through ticketing, or of integrated tickets, place the interests of the provider above that of their customers.

For example, I used to travel for work between Grantham and Woking. Especially on the return journey, the existence of a through ticket gave me important rights on the end to end journey, rights that did not exist if I split my tickets and where the costs of a problem would be disproportionately high. Satisfying a particular aspiration on ticket format should not be at the cost of those rights, or of imposing inconvenience on the customer because the operators can’t be bothered to make effective through ticketing arrangements.
 

London Trains

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What about if you're travelling as a family, and don't have Oyster?
Kids aren't gonna have contactless cards, and if they did they would get charged the full adult fare.
A very high proportion of teenagers do have contactless cards actually - and their must be some way to implement child and railcard fares onto contactless cards. Also, under 11s already travel free on the Tube anyway so they are not an issue.
 

alistairlees

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They could. But I raise the point because the approach taken by TfL has been profoundly customer unfriendly, and driven as I see it by the belief that customers may be disadvantaged where they do not fit within the specific norm that the solution is designed for. Options involving withdrawal of through ticketing, or of integrated tickets, place the interests of the provider above that of their customers.

For example, I used to travel for work between Grantham and Woking. Especially on the return journey, the existence of a through ticket gave me important rights on the end to end journey, rights that did not exist if I split my tickets and where the costs of a problem would be disproportionately high. Satisfying a particular aspiration on ticket format should not be at the cost of those rights, or of imposing inconvenience on the customer because the operators can’t be bothered to make effective through ticketing arrangements.
I agree that your through ticket should be continue to exist and that your rights would therefore be protected. Only the cross-London element would be missing (use contactless or oyster as you prefer), and the through ticket would be cheaper by at least the same amount (£2.40 for an adult). There would be no need to have ‘split’ rail tickets.
 

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