ITSO Smartcard contactless tickets

Metal_gee_man

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28 Oct 2017
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452
Good Evening,
Up until now I've avoided the TOCs smartcards due to challenges and difficulties that were being reported on twitter, here and general rumblings of commuters on trains.
Today I got what I expecting to be a spam email from SouthEastern, it wasn't, it was very informative and talking up "The Key" smartcard, the single and return usage that'll be usable across the UK on all TOCs, the way once its delivered you can load tickets onto the card with you mobile phone via NFC (Near Field Communication) and their On Track app.
Which got me thinking, am I to now get one will it work for me, it'll not end up with a season ticket on it even though it can, and it'll only hold standard single and return tickets, it won't hold an advance ticket it won't hold any rover tickets and is difficult to deal with when your routing changes because it suggests you have to call cust serv to fix routing issues to tickets and can't be changed by a revenue/guard/train manager or a ticket office.

Does anyone else have any concerns or reasons why you wouldn't sign up and genuinely does every TOC have the smartcard pads, and do all of them follow the rules of usage regarding tapping in or out etc
 
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alistairlees

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Assuming you are adding a ticket to your smartcard (rather than using your smartcard to "pay as you go"), then you don't need to tap in or tap out. Tapping in and tapping out is purely for PAYG, to register your journey.

All TOCs accept tickets on smartcards (it doesn't matter whose smartcard it's on; nor which retailer you purchased it from), provided the tickets are valid for the route being used, of course (like any other ticket). If you want an excess, e.g. to go via another route, then I don't see why this can't be issued as a paper excess.

If a TOC does not have the equipment to read your smartcard then that's their issue. But they all should, now.

It's all fairly straightforward. The lack of reservation or itinerary visibility, as well as the lack of Advance products, is a drawback, though. eTickets are much better for those scenarios (and many others).
 

father_jack

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26 Jan 2010
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Assuming you are adding a ticket to your smartcard (rather than using your smartcard to "pay as you go"), then you don't need to tap in or tap out. Tapping in and tapping out is purely for PAYG, to register your journey.
You still have to touch in or out to "mark" your ticket. Otherwise it would show as unused and a refund could be obtained, or the return portion could be used numerous times.
 

Ali365Dash

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2 Jul 2019
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Hampshire
Confusingly, it might appear that the requirement to tap in and out depends not only on whether you're using PAYG, but also what TOC smartcard you have!

GTR say that if there are no barriers, you are required to use the platform validator...
Southern said:
  • You must always touch "in" and touch "out" with your Key Smartcard card by placing it flat on a yellow card reader or Oyster reader at the ticket gate or free standing validator (a “Validator”) at the station where you start and finish your rail Journey
  • All tickets held on the Key Smartcard require validation at the start and end of the journey, failure to do so could lead to a penalty fare being issued
...while Southeastern don't seem to require you to use a platform validator?
Southeastern said:
What happens if there are no ticket barriers for me to tap in or out of?

You will not be penalised if you cannot tap in or tap out as you have already purchased your ticket.
Unfortunately, Southeastern doesn't have their exact terms and conditions available online, so the FAQ section is all I have to go on.
 

mattdickinson

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14 Nov 2010
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Uxbridge
Confusingly, it might appear that the requirement to tap in and out depends not only on whether you're using PAYG, but also what TOC smartcard you have!

GTR say that if there are no barriers, you are required to use the platform validator...


...while Southeastern don't seem to require you to use a platform validator?


Unfortunately, Southeastern doesn't have their exact terms and conditions available online, so the FAQ section is all I have to go on.
All GTR stations have either gatelines or validators. Most smaller Southeastern stations don't have either.
 

Metal_gee_man

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28 Oct 2017
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All GTR stations have either gatelines or validators. Most smaller Southeastern stations don't have either.
But the challenge is if anyone uses through ticketing for example, they don't touch in at a SE station but get a revenue check on a GTR train or another TOC that requires a tap in and get accused of fare evasion.

Now you see the problem, not all the TOCs have the same terms of use, not all of them have the same reload ability and to confuse matters, SWR for example allow advance tickets to be loaded but SE don't!

SWR expect you to use a Photocard with their version, SE don't it's plain, plain stupid... jeez it makes me wonder is it worth it
 

talldave

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....SWR expect you to use a Photocard with their version, SE don't it's plain, plain stupid... jeez it makes me wonder is it worth it
I think you've answered your own question!

The problem is the rail industry's default stance that every passenger is a fare evading criminal unless they can prove otherwise. It's hard enough to argue the validity of a ticket that humans can read; switching to an unreadable entity is just asking for trouble. I tried a GTR Key once. The journey turned into a nightmare, due to a fatality we were turfed off and told ticket acceptance was in place on local buses. Blagging my way onto a bus with an unreadable piece of plastic was awkward. No thanks.
 

Metal_gee_man

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I think you've answered your own question!

The problem is the rail industry's default stance that every passenger is a fare evading criminal unless they can prove otherwise. It's hard enough to argue the validity of a ticket that humans can read; switching to an unreadable entity is just asking for trouble. I tried a GTR Key once. The journey turned into a nightmare, due to a fatality we were turfed off and told ticket acceptance was in place on local buses. Blagging my way onto a bus with an unreadable piece of plastic was awkward. No thanks.
In principle it's a good idea... But
 

ForTheLoveOf

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You still have to touch in or out to "mark" your ticket. Otherwise it would show as unused and a refund could be obtained, or the return portion could be used numerous times.
Exactly the same risk comes with paper tickets! So long as the TOCs continue to treat every passenger as a fraudster until proven otherwise, I will not be making any use of these ridiculous kind of smartcards. They have their uses, e.g. PAYG in London, but they are completely pointless if you have to buy the ticket first and then load it onto the Smartcard.
 

father_jack

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The problem is the rail industry's default stance that every passenger is a fare evading criminal unless they can prove otherwise.
Exactly the same risk comes with paper tickets! So long as the TOCs continue to treat every passenger as a fraudster until proven otherwise,
I obviously don't mean either of you personally but it's second nature to quite a few passengers that if they can get away with something they will. If they can get half of dozen goes from a return portion they will !!! Moreso since returns became double or almost double of the appropriate off peak single. Problem didn't occur so much when it was £1 difference between super or off peak single and return

Let me relate an occasional experience of when I worked in a certain ticket office. The gateline there stopped operating at 2000- there was a busy arrival from a big origin at 2004 and was the first off peak evening train after peak, the big origin has loads of platforms and "ONE" has no gateline.

So the train departs from that "ONE" particular platform, no gateline at origin, none at destination. The next morning, refund applications would come from passengers who "got a lift" from the big origin !!! Despite the ticket being bought 5 minutes before the departure from that "ONE" ungated platform....
 

ForTheLoveOf

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I obviously don't mean either of you personally but it's second nature to quite a few passengers that if they can get away with something they will. If they can get half of dozen goes from a return portion they will !!! Moreso since returns became double or almost double of the appropriate off peak single. Problem didn't occur so much when it was £1 difference between super or off peak single and return

Let me relate an occasional experience of when I worked in a certain ticket office. The gateline there stopped operating at 2000- there was a busy arrival from a big origin at 2004 and was the first off peak evening train after peak, the big origin has loads of platforms and "ONE" has no gateline.

So the train departs from that "ONE" particular platform, no gateline at origin, none at destination. The next morning, refund applications would come from passengers who "got a lift" from the big origin !!! Despite the ticket being bought 5 minutes before the departure from that "ONE" ungated platform....
That still doesn't explain why the TOCs feel the need to make smartcards much less customer friendly than good old fashioned paper tickets. The TOCs have accepted that validation is not necessary for E-Tickets and yet here they are, introducing it as a requirement for smartcards. It's just totally illogical and uncoordinated.

Unless and until they give some kind of benefit, e.g. nationwide or widespread single leg pricing (at half the price of the equivalent return), I have no intention of using smartcards and I certainly don't think I'm the only one in that boat.
 

causton

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Surely it depends on the type of ticket you have?

If you have a single or return ticket, or a carnet, on a smartcard, you NEED to touch in or out. Otherwise your journey will never be "used up" and you could reuse the ticket again and again.

With a season ticket, there is not the need, but if TOCs have spent a lot of money installing validators, it makes it easier to just say "you must use them" rather than explain the nuances between a carnet and a season ticket to the layman!
 

father_jack

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That still doesn't explain why the TOCs feel the need to make smartcards much less customer friendly than good old fashioned paper tickets. The TOCs have accepted that validation is not necessary for E-Tickets and yet here they are, introducing it as a requirement for smartcards. It's just totally illogical and uncoordinated.

Unless and until they give some kind of benefit, e.g. nationwide or widespread single leg pricing (at half the price of the equivalent return), I have no intention of using smartcards and I certainly don't think I'm the only one in that boat.
Smartcards are being implemented by the industry on government orders. Minister Shapps even posed why are passengers are still using a piece of card when even the NHS can move to technology in a covid briefing a while back.

I don't know where you are getting it that validation is not necessary for E-tickets.

@causton Yes you are right but the industry wants the data from seasons for demand monitoring so to they will let the greater audience touch them in and out. And at a lot of locations you have to open the gate anyway. Imagine the chaos, "I'm not touching my season, open the gate for me.........."
 

Metal_gee_man

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Surely it depends on the type of ticket you have?

If you have a single or return ticket, or a carnet, on a smartcard, you NEED to touch in or out. Otherwise your journey will never be "used up" and you could reuse the ticket again and again.

With a season ticket, there is not the need, but if TOCs have spent a lot of money installing validators, it makes it easier to just say "you must use them" rather than explain the nuances between a carnet and a season ticket to the layman!
The thing you are missing here is that single and returns are added via NFC on a phone or at a machine are date specific. You will not be able to use them the following day, the likelihood of someone trying to use the same ticket on the same day doing the same journey is negligible so I'd argue the only action that could happen is someone requesting a refund for an unused ticket.
 

Belperpete

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One other thing to consider is if they can be used on journeys involving London Underground, or Plusbus fares. My understanding is that e-tickets can't be used on London Underground. In some cases, paying separately can increase the price of such journeys considerably. You could of course continue to buy conventional card tickets for such journeys.
 

infobleep

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I've not read all the comments on here yet but here is my poor experience.

I ordered a ITSO from South Western Railway. They had been advertising on LBC.

So this morning I go to a station and select ITSO from the TMV, I select the smart option and type in Guildford to Haywards Heath. All that it offers me is a season ticket. Not that's not much help.

So I go onto thr South Western Railway Web Site Nd try to buy a ITSO ticket and I skeect 8am, rather than the default 8am and it says its too early!

Not looking very smart now. And to think the advert said used ITSO to avoid having to touch screens at a station. If I wish to buy a flexible ticket now, I expect to be able to load it to my ITSO now.

I can buy a paper ticket at the last minute!

So now I've installed their app and that does seem to allow me to add day ticket. After linking my card and doing the search, three service options that have departed to show up. I guess it's nice to know what you could have caught but didn't. I overslept my alarm.

I do actually like looking at the history but you can use the show earlier function to see that, so I don't feel I need to see it right now.

Now I have the next problem. I actually want to travel via a slower but shorter distance route. I cannot see an option to select via. Definitely not so smart now. I cannot buy an e-ticket to my destination via another Web Site as Govia Thameslink Railway don't support e-tickets to barriered sfatjnsy. Anyway I've asked SW_Help on Twitter how I go about buying my ticket. I'll be surprised if they know but they might be able to send feedback on my behalf. No response yet but they might be busy this Sunday morning. I have had experience in the past if them not answering questions, which at the time the cynic in me suspected they were told not to answer.

No wonder their app only gets 3.6 stars out of 5. Shame my G-Suite account doesn't allow me to leave app reviews. Still they are doing better than Sky. There Sky Mobile TV app only gets 1.3 stats out of 5.

Esit: I found away of getting a via point using their full desktop site on my mobile. Not ideal but not impossible. I've just feedback as they make it so easy to do at least. So after doing all of this I am then informed that smart tickets are not avilable. Now rubbish is that. I wonder if I could contact the Advertising Standards Agency and ask them to get South Western Railway to point out not all tickets are avilable for their Touch Smart Card. I don't think the advert makes this clear. Had I known, I may have caught the 7:47 today., as I may have checked in advance.
 
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Envy123

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KeyGo now is very convenient and one of the main reasons why I want to stay in GTR land.

I no longer need to worry about which sort of ticket I need - Off Peak, Anytime or Super Off Peak - as it calculates automatically and accurately. And I don’t need to queue to buy a ticket - I can just tap and go.

I only don’t use it when I need to go out of GTR land and a paper ticket is cheaper.
 

infobleep

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KeyGo now is very convenient and one of the main reasons why I want to stay in GTR land.

I no longer need to worry about which sort of ticket I need - Off Peak, Anytime or Super Off Peak - as it calculates automatically and accurately. And I don’t need to queue to buy a ticket - I can just tap and go.

I only don’t use it when I need to go out of GTR land and a paper ticket is cheaper.
Alas I don't think one can tap and go between Guildford and Haywards Heath. I guess it is my fault for wanting to use mutiple train operating companies! :D:lol:
 

Belperpete

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KeyGo now is very convenient and one of the main reasons why I want to stay in GTR land.
I no longer need to worry about which sort of ticket I need - Off Peak, Anytime or Super Off Peak - as it calculates automatically and accurately. And I don’t need to queue to buy a ticket - I can just tap and go.
Does it cope well with break of journey, or does it charge you as separate journeys like Oyster does?
 

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