ITSO - What is it? How will it work?

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PhilipW

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So I see the Government is keen to extend Smartcards out across Britain.
All very commendable in principle, but how will it work. I have no idea and I doubt if 99.9% of the population have either.

Take a Southampton to Waterloo journey. I tap in at Southampton and tap out at Waterloo. What happens. Do I get charged an Anytime Single.

I then return home later that day, tap in at Waterloo and tap out at Southampton. Do I then get charged an extra Anytime Single or just a minimal extra to make it an Off Peak Return or a Super Off Peak return depending on which time I left and returned ?

What happens if I return the next day. Is ITSO clever enough to realise that I have just made a Saver Return.

What happens if i stop off for an hour (allowed) at Winchester. Can ITSO connect all the journies up ?

What happens if I end my jourmey completely earlier that Southampton Central (e.g. Parkway), will ITSO still know I have made a valid Day/Period Return ?

..... and perhaps most importantly of all, will I have the confidence that the system have debited the correct fare from me. Answer : No, I won't.

I will need some convincing.
 
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jw

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I see ITSO cards mainly as a mechanism to hold tickets, not cash value.

Oyster uses cash value because you are travelling in defined zones with defined prices, so you know the maximum you can spend, and the system can arbitrate your entry to the system based on your stored cash.

I'd be extremely surprised if national journeys could be made with payment taken from stored cash value - the user could be in for some nasty surprises at peak times!

I had always assumed that ITSO was a way to store a regular train ticket electronically rather than on paper.
 

PhilipW

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I see ITSO cards mainly as a mechanism to hold tickets, not cash value.

I had always assumed that ITSO was a way to store a regular train ticket electronically rather than on paper.
Interesting. If true, the ITSO card is barely more than a ticket. Not much of a leap forward and hardly justifies the 'Smart' in 'Smartcard'.
 

dosxuk

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Interesting. If true, the ITSO card is barely more than a ticket. Not much of a leap forward and hardly justifies the 'Smart' in 'Smartcard'.
Even if it can only hold tickets, if you can buy a ticket on line, and give the retailer your card number, then just go to your departure station, touch in and it transfers that ticket to your card it would be a massive improvement on the current situation of having to go to a ticket office / spend half an hour waiting for the one working ticket machine to lethargically print out your ticket.
 

PhilipW

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This is an extract of what the BBC reported was announced today

"Smart cards, like those already used in London, are to be rolled out across the country, the transport secretary says.

Oyster card-style ticketing, allowing people to pay by swiping on a card reader, and more varied peak pricing were part of reforms announced to MPs".

This certainly does state that the DfT wants people to pay by tapping in/out their ITSO card, rather than just use it as a storage device for tickets bought by other means.
 

Eagle

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Imagine this scenario. (There's no way it can work without at least one paper ticket.)

I hold, on my ITSO card

— one Off-Peak Day Return from Coventry to London, route LM Only (i.e. cheap), which I intend to use on Saturday to spend the day in London with a couple of friends
— the return portion of one Anytime Return from London to Coventry, route Any Permitted, which I intend to use the following Tuesday to attend an interview in Bloomsbury at 10am. I have already used the outbound portion (hey, the interviewers were paying, why not? :P)

Now, on Saturday, I touch in at Coventry at 11.00 and touch out at London at 12.50. Which ticket does the system remove from my card? Obviously I know which one I was using (the LM one) but it doesn't. For all it knows I might have used VT services. So it has to remove the Any Permitted one, which leaves me slightly screwed on Tuesday morning.

And there's no way I can't have both tickets at once, being as they overlap.
 

Zoe

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Now, on Saturday, I touch in at Coventry at 11.00 and touch out at London at 12.50. Which ticket does the system remove from my card?
So it wouldn't be possible to install a reader on the train?
 
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PhilipW

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Eagle, Good points.

The DfT may want ITSO cards to become common usage but there is an awful lot of explaining to done first to explain to the populace on how they will work.

If we don't understand them on these forums, there is no chance the general public will take to them.

Do I see another expensive disaster looming .... ?
 

Eagle

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So it wouldn't be possible to install a reader on the train?
I guess so, but still both tickets are valid on that train, and I can think of realistic scenarios where I wanted to use either one of them. And the reader can't second-guess me.

The only way, I guess, is for there to be some kind of screen with the reader that displays all the tickets on your card, and you select which one you're using.
 

Zoe

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I guess so, but still both tickets are valid on that train, and I can think of realistic scenarios where I wanted to use either one of them. And the reader can't second-guess me.
Why would you want to use an Anytime fare on an Off Peak train? This does also assume that by the time this is introduced the current ticketing scheme will still be in use.
 

Zoe

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Because, if you had read the scenario:

a) You can use it "Anytime", and,

b) Someone else had paid for it.
Regardless of who paid for it, it's a waste of an Anytime ticket if you are only going to use an Off Peak train. If it's an Off Peak train then there's no reason good reason to use an Anytime ticket.
 

Hydro

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Regardless of who paid for it, it's a waste of an Anytime ticket if you are only going to use an Off Peak train. If it's an Off Peak train then there's no reason good reason to use an Anytime ticket.

Do you want a job in the Department for Transport? I can imagine Greening reading that and nodding, "I like yo' style".
 

Zoe

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Don't be absurd. The right to use a product I own (an Anytime ticket) for its intended purpose (travelling on any train for which it is valid) is never going away.
You can't assume there will always be a way of paying the peak rate regardless of the train you use. In the future there may well not be an Anytime fare at all and you simply pay the peak rate only if you travel at peak times.
 
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John55

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Eagle, Good points.

The DfT may want ITSO cards to become common usage but there is an awful lot of explaining to done first to explain to the populace on how they will work.

If we don't understand them on these forums, there is no chance the general public will take to them.

Do I see another expensive disaster looming .... ?
Presumable like the complete disaster the Oyster has been in London?

The present schemes for the ITSO cards which are to be implemented over the next couple of years will involve facilities similar to those available in London on Oyster and as time goes by additional facilities will be added. Before panicing about the prospect why not wait and see what is offered?
 

Hydro

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Presumable like the complete disaster the Oyster has been in London?
The rest of the country is not London. A nationwide smartcard system sounds great, but will required to be able to cope with some rather complex issues. National, Government driven projects of a complex IT nature do not inspire confidence.
 

DaveNewcastle

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They don't.
Nor does the track record of the multi-national software companies who develop these nation-wide systems, using their own proprietary technologies. We can look at the systems introduced into the Health Service, Inland Revenue, Police, Defence etc, if we want something to depress us. But we don't need to; we can look at the rail ticketing systems we have already. Who is going to provide the new smart ticketing systems?
 

Zoe

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Will there be a requirment for Oyster to be compatible with this new scheme in the future?
 

ANorthernGuard

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The rest of the country is not London. A nationwide smartcard system sounds great, but will required to be able to cope with some rather complex issues. National, Government driven projects of a complex IT nature do not inspire confidence.
It isn't damn! so where does all the money go then? lol
 
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