Out with credit-card sized stock and in with mobile ticketing - is it too early?

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Phones could become unresponsive, dropped and cracked enough so that the touch screen doesn't work... Been there, but you could also lose a paper ticket - and then it's really gone. There are advantages to both, but e-tickets have all the advantages, with the only disadvantage that I can see being slower validation at a barrier. This is important for LU, less so for the TOCs, and I think a bit of user experience with them might help there.
 
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Bletchleyite

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However, there is the legitimate concern that phones can make themelves temporarily inoperable - for example, if they decide they need to update (or if the train company app decides it needs to update!)
They can, but in reality this doesn't take long, and no inspector is going to issue a PF if a phone is clearly and visibly only temporarily incapacitated for that sort of reason (unless you are rude to them and so fail the attitude test), they will just ask you to wait there, at the side of the barrier, until you can show your ticket.
 

Llanigraham

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Yoy don’t really need to go via NRE, you can go straight into your app of choice. If you create an account with your TOC of choice, they’ll store your card details, all you need to remember is the three-digit CVV. Once you get used to it it takes less than a minute.
But first you need to have downloaded the App, which from experience can take time, and sometimes isn't that simple.

It's not that simple at a ticket office if the ticket being sought is for future travel and, potentially, starting at a different station. And that is before getting into what tickets may be available, journey times and seating arrangements.
Really?
I do that regularly at Machynlleth station and it never seems to cause them a problem.
 

BayPaul

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I do think its a shame that there isn't a consistent option to be able to easily register an e-ticket to an email address, so that in the unlikely event that a phone runs out of battery / gets lost / disolves in a flood of condensation from a poorly fitting window, it would be possible to give this address to the guard to look up and verify the ticket this way. I know they can be printed, but needing to be printed in advance means it isn't a contingency option. Airline tickets can be verified in a similar way (by swiping a passport at check in).

If nothing else it would remove the consitent complaint about this issue!
 

AM9

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I do think its a shame that there isn't a consistent option to be able to easily register an e-ticket to an email address, so that in the unlikely event that a phone runs out of battery / gets lost / disolves in a flood of condensation from a poorly fitting window, it would be possible to give this address to the guard to look up and verify the ticket this way. I know they can be printed, but needing to be printed in advance means it isn't a contingency option. Airline tickets can be verified in a similar way (by swiping a passport at check in).

If nothing else it would remove the consitent complaint about this issue!
The basic premise that anybody expecting to travel on a public transport mode should be compelled to obtain, maintain, maintain and carry a smartphone is the problem. For a variety of reasons, not every potential passenger can or will carry such a device, so for them there must be a viable alternative that doesn't penalise them with additional costs or force them to accept a lesser service that those that are using a smartphone. At the same time, there needs to be mechanism for those who cannot present proof of a ticket via smartphone to verify their entitlement to travel.
However much some might wish to make everything electronic, tickets made of paper (a 2100 year-old IT invention) will be here for some time to come and it fits the requirements of a low-cost ticketing system. The current mag stripe card tickets, as an intermediate IT medium, might be nearing the end of their life and t is appropriate to consider their successor, - so lond as that might make public transport available to all irrespective of whether they are tech savvy, tech equipped etc.. Printing on ticket roll paper is clearly cheaper than purpose made and branded mag strip cards so a solution that embodies both electronic distribution and hard copy is what is needed. I remember some tickets in use (probably in the '80s) that were on thin paper (from a roll) that were the same colour as the current credit card type that were printed on demand. With modern printer developments and the ability to make almost every fixed TVM (and many portable TVMs) access a central database, a system that created an electronic record of the journey booked and if desired, a printed ticket needed. The coding on the ticket should be optically readable meaning that portable as well as gateling scanners can refer to the database, - certainly by the time that 4G is complete and in busy areas as soon as 5G is available. For those wishing to have some security when using their smartphone, it would be be necessary for their device to be registered with the TOC (or preferably with NRE), which would facilitate easier verification if they were unable to present a valid ticket for scan verification on demand.
Just a thought.
 

Haywain

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The basic premise that anybody expecting to travel on a public transport mode should be compelled to obtain, maintain, maintain and carry a smartphone is...
... a figment of the imagination of those opposed to eTickets.
 

Haywain

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Really?
I do that regularly at Machynlleth station and it never seems to cause them a problem.
Really. All I'm saying is it takes a bit longer not that it is some sort of major problem. Don't you agree that buying such a ticket is likely to take longer than a walk-up ticket for immediate travel?
 

Llanigraham

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Really. All I'm saying is it takes a bit longer not that it is some sort of major problem. Don't you agree that buying such a ticket is likely to take longer than a walk-up ticket for immediate travel?
Not at all.
I walk in, perhaps wait a few minutes if there is someone else there, although that is rare since I time it for when there are no trains due, then ask for a ticket from Caersws to (generally) Euston on ?? day. They input it into the machine, ask how I want to pay, and I put my credit card in the machine, tap my code and get handed my tickets.
End of.
It probably takes as long as it took to write that.

The only time it takes longer is if I try to do it in Welsh, for practice.
Most of the staff are bi-lingual and very helpful when I get it wrong.
 

Wallsendmag

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/At the moment; but loud voices from those who want it and the warm feeling that the opportunity to reduce staffing must be giving the DfT and some TOCs encouragement.
The very fact that you don't need a smartphone or an app or two coconuts and a piece of string to have an e-Ticket must make that fact obvious to even the most ardent technophobes
 

ainsworth74

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Not at all.
I walk in, perhaps wait a few minutes if there is someone else there, although that is rare since I time it for when there are no trains due, then ask for a ticket from Caersws to (generally) Euston on ?? day. They input it into the machine, ask how I want to pay, and I put my credit card in the machine, tap my code and get handed my tickets.
End of.
It probably takes as long as it took to write that.
Either they must know what you want already as you're presumably a regular or there are more questions being asked than that as otherwise I don't see how they're selling you the actual ticket you want considering there are a plethora of tickets on that flow from singles to returns via different routes and operator restrictions along with a range of booked train only fares to boot. I mean there's seven different walk-up singles and seven different walk-up returns for a start.
 

Llanigraham

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Either they must know what you want already as you're presumably a regular or there are more questions being asked than that as otherwise I don't see how they're selling you the actual ticket you want considering there are a plethora of tickets on that flow from singles to returns via different routes and operator restrictions along with a range of booked train only fares to boot. I mean there's seven different walk-up singles and seven different walk-up returns for a start.
Well they certainly don't know me as there are several staff, and I only buy it to attend 9 meetings each year in London.

I ask for a return, Caersws - Euston, and generally for the 0626 from Caersws, returning the same day, with a Adult Disabled Card.
So that can only mean TfW and West Coast, and I have only ever been offered the route Via Birmigham, which from my research is the most direct, quickest and easiest. (Note that I am not bothered about "splits").

And on the few occasions I have used (the now closed) Newtown Station Travel, Gareth offered exactly the same ticket, from Caersws, at exactly the same price, using exactly the same route. And issued the ticket as quickly as Machynlleth did.

Perhaps it just that Machy staff are super efficient :D:D
 

Hadders

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This is the obvious solution and Eurostar already so this. I don't get why you can't just do this with domestic tickets, that would solve all the problems.
I suspect that is what will happen eventually. I used to print my Eurostar tickets at St Pancras but recently started to print them at home (I usually travel with a group of friends so it's easier for me to print the tickets and hand them out at the station as we are about to check in). If I'm travelling on my own I just display the ticket on my phone.
 

sheff1

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... a figment of the imagination of those opposed to eTickets.



I certainly didn't imagine this exchange earlier in the year:
I have never bought a ticket which can go straight to my phone - because I have never owned a phone which would facilitate that.
Very quickly a response came back:
Make the most of it while you can, the withdrawal of CCST has already started in Scotland.
To me that was a strong suggestion that, at some point, I would not be able to travel if I did not have a phone to which a ticket could be sent, so I asked for clarification:
Are you saying I will not be able to use a rail ticket unless I purchase a smartphone ?
No response was forthcoming, but following AM9's post on this thread earlier today I see we do now have confirmation that a smartphone is not required.

As an aside, I do now have a smartphone but the likes of Northern & LNER tell me I am not allowed to travel so I have never been able to use it for a train ticket.
 
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AM9

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CCST stock being withdrawn doesn't mean that you will require a smartphone to travel by train.
It seems that my post has sparked off this about paper tickets actually being withdrawn. That wasn't what I meant, (or said as far as I can see). Changes may well come with the withdrawl of CCST (not sure what that stands for, 'Credit Card' something I suppose), but I was making a case for:
a) not forcing those who can't or won't have a smartphone to need one to travel​
and​
b) suggesting a cheaper paper ticket type that didn't have some of the negative aspects of CCST stock that have variously been mentioned in this thread, e.g.​
cost (part down to the mag stripe)​
durability (not dependent of protection from strong magnets)​
less risk when being read (not ingested by gate readers)​
faster to read (assuming that links to back-end processing improve - particularly relevant to 4G and 5G network roll-outs)​
can be printed at home (i.e. exactly the same image that can be sent to an online buyer can be printed at home - or of course displayed on a portable device as some might want to)​
c) also pointing out that such a ticket retains the benefits that CCST stock brings such as can fit in a credit card wallet, and with at least as much supplementary information space​
The image of a Trainsplit ticket that I attached convinced me that such a ticket style could meet all of the above attributes.
Given the government's appetite for putting everything online and the TOC's wish to divest themselves of some of the inconveniences of paper documents, my point was that there may be some pressure put on those who don't/can't go that way.
 

ainsworth74

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I ask for a return, Caersws - Euston, and generally for the 0626 from Caersws, returning the same day, with a Adult Disabled Card.
So that can only mean TfW and West Coast, and I have only ever been offered the route Via Birmigham, which from my research is the most direct, quickest and easiest. (Note that I am not bothered about "splits").
See, I said there must have been more to it! :lol: ;)

Perhaps it just that Machy staff are super efficient :D:D
Most ticket office staff are pretty quick in my experience if you answer all the likely questions they're going to ask. Though they slow down considerably if you start asking for odd things like Rovers or other specialist products (but can hardly be blamed for that!) :lol:
 

S&CLER

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See, I said there must have been more to it! :lol: ;)



Most ticket office staff are pretty quick in my experience if you answer all the likely questions they're going to ask. Though they slow down considerably if you start asking for odd things like Rovers or other specialist products (but can hardly be blamed for that!) :lol:
You can do your research on brfares.com beforehand and save a lot of time that way. Print the page out to show the booking office staff the restriction codes if necessary. As for rovers and rangers, just ask them to go to the rovers and rangers page, and name the rover you want. I've bought innumerable GM Conc Wayfarers at Southport ticket office in this way. They were puzzled at first, when Wayfarers changed from scratch cards to credit-card sized ticket stock, but before Covid they were selling quite a few each week. Also, I've bought at Southport several tickets from LPY (S. Parkway), using my Merseytravel pass from Southport to LPY. They were selling a fair number of these too. It helps if you know the 3-letter code for your destination, so that, for example, you can ask for a day return from LPY to HSB with a senior railcard. The staff always seem rather impressed, and it helps them if you know exactly what you want.
 

ainsworth74

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You can do your research on brfares.com beforehand and save a lot of time that way. Print the page out to show the booking office staff the restriction codes if necessary. As for rovers and rangers, just ask them to go to the rovers and rangers page, and name the rover you want. I've bought innumerable GM Conc Wayfarers at Southport ticket office in this way. They were puzzled at first, when Wayfarers changed from scratch cards to credit-card sized ticket stock, but before Covid they were selling quite a few each week. Also, I've bought at Southport several tickets from LPY (S. Parkway), using my Merseytravel pass from Southport to LPY. They were selling a fair number of these too. It helps if you know the 3-letter code for your destination, so that, for example, you can ask for a day return from LPY to HSB with a senior railcard. The staff always seem rather impressed, and it helps them if you know exactly what you want.
Yes I'm aware of that, thank you, but there have been times when staff still get stuck trying to find things despite our best joint effort to identify the product I'm after. Particularly as not all ticket offices uses the same software and some is better than others at doing "unusual" things.

I've rocked up at ticket offices before and asked for a ticket from Darlington to London International (for CIV protection with Eurostar) and some type it in and issue with no question, a handful know that they need to check if you've got a Eurostar ticket and another got very confused as to why I wanted a ticket that included an itinerary with a walk to St Pancras rather than just a ticket to Kings Cross. On other occasions I've asked for a x, y or z rover and they've had to poke through several different sets of screens to find the list that contains that type of rover. Etc etc. So your suggestions are certainly useful and indeed used by myself when seeking to purchase tickets (I can almost chant "an Off-Peak Day Return to York, route not via Darlington with a Railcard [flash railcard] please") but it is by no means a guarantee of a quick and easy transaction.

Thankfully, at least around here, most ticket office staff are up for a challenge and are happy to battle their way through the system to get to the right thing. Heck, Redcar Central managed to issue me a £10 Two-Together Railcard (a Gold Card perk is getting another Railcard for £10) after I insisted that this was definitely a thing that could be done (Redcar Central of course having never seen nor indeed having heard of a Gold Card before).

Though all that being said, and desperately trying to bring us back onto topic, I wonder if we'll ever see the benefits of mobile ticketing afforded to more specialist products mentioned above? I believe RailEasy were (or are?) the only online source of tickets to/from London International and I think some TOCs (GWR being one of them I think) will allow you to buy Rover/Rangers but none, I think, are available as e-tickets. I suppose it's low down on the agenda however.
 

Bletchleyite

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There are also a small number of staff who take exception at being shown "internal" information that might counter their view :(

My personal view regarding Rangers/Rovers, as they are quite specialist[1], would be that they should be sold from a single, separate website as e-tickets, and if ToD supports them for collection that way for those without a printer or phone. That would make it easier to market them, too. It wouldn't be a big step to have booking offices have a "back end" access to that for printing them, from a PC rather than the ticket machine, too. Indeed, issuing them in an A4 format would have benefits, as it could include a map and restrictions details as well as just the ticket barcode.

[1] I mean leisure Rangers and Rovers, not stuff like TfL Travelcards, Merseytravel Saveaways, Merseyrail Day Savers, GM Rail Rangers etc, though for completeness they could be included too.
 

py_megapixel

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There are also a small number of staff who take exception at being shown "internal" information that might counter their view :(
Even when this "internal information" is actually publicly available...?

My personal view regarding Rangers/Rovers, as they are quite specialist[1], would be that they should be sold from a single, separate website as e-tickets, and if ToD supports them for collection that way for those without a printer or phone. That would make it easier to market them, too. It wouldn't be a big step to have booking offices have a "back end" access to that for printing them, from a PC rather than the ticket machine, too. Indeed, issuing them in an A4 format would have benefits, as it could include a map and restrictions details as well as just the ticket barcode.
That sounds like a good idea but would the TOCs get on board? Wouldn't they lose their commision that they get from selling the ticket through their own channels?
 

Bletchleyite

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Even when this "internal information" is actually publicly available...?
Unfortunately so. Such as the booking office staff and barrier staff at City Thameslink who were insistant that an Off Peak Single to Bedford was not valid at 6pm even though it clearly is (or at least was at the time). There aren't many of them but they are quite visible, sadly.
 

father_jack

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/At the moment; but loud voices from those who want it and the warm feeling that the opportunity to reduce staffing must be giving the DfT and some TOCs encouragement.
Albeit completely denied within the industry.....while I'm sure PTR&R books are being dusted off with glee by certain managers who forget that as a result they very soon might have nobody to manage :D
 

bussnapperwm

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Call me a luddite, but I would rather have a physical ticket that I can put in my wallet over a ticket on a mobile device.

The reason for this is threefold - it serves as a useful historical record of where I've travelled, phones and tablets can die and if you don't have a power pack, you're stuffed, and also I don't trust certain TOC revenue teams when it comes to e tickets and route validity.
 

bussnapperwm

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Plus I enjoy the human interaction of speaking to somebody in a booking office when buying a ticket, as sometimes you can get better information depending on the staff than a website or app
 

Haywain

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Most ticket office staff are pretty quick in my experience if you answer all the likely questions they're going to ask.
I don't disagree, but my experience on the staff side of the counter has taught me that the customer that can be the problem. No matter how quick the staff member, some customers can make even the simplest transaction seem uncommonly difficult and overly time consuming!
 

father_jack

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I don't disagree, but my experience on the staff side of the counter has taught me that the customer that can be the problem. No matter how quick the staff member, some customers can make even the simplest transaction seem uncommonly difficult and overly time consuming!
Or that old adage applies "a liitle bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing......".
 

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