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

sheff1

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At the moment paper ticketing's being considered a COVID transmission vector in my industry (entertainment) as you have to be closer to someone and physically hand an item over (and then back).
Whichever part of the entertainment industry you are in clearly has an antiquated system. I have been using paper tickets to access sports grounds for years without any staff involvement at all - you scan the ticket, the turnstile/gate unlocks and you enter. Obviously if the scan fails someone will come over to assist but exactly the same happens if a ticket held on a phone fails to unlock the turnstile/gate.
 
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And they will miss out.

There's plenty of things that have changed in the past that have helped us progress, yet have made people miss out unless they took mitigation action.

For example the turning off of analogue TV. Either get a digital box, digital TV or miss out. The same will happen with FM radio.

Smartphones can be got cheaply.
If you don't want to get one through fear, the answer is to investigate that fear rather than force an old system to continue just so you don't have to evolve your way of life. That's like asking petrol stations to continue stocking 4* petrol...

Smartcards are free to obtain.
Possibly a cost to replace but no doubt it'll be the same or less than if you lost your paper season ticket... in this ever increasingly digital world.

Same with contactless cards.
If lots and lots of people were having their card skimmed, you'd hear about it a lot more. That is scaremongering at its best.
Plus, with banking apps now encorporating ways to turn the card on and off, you can do that if you wish.
For me, the messing about far outweighs the benefits - especially as banks are actually pretty good at refunding fraud cases and most wallets come with built in protection anyway. So really, there's no excuse not to have a contactless card.
Smartcards could be an effective way of replacing paper tickets. Examples already in place are Stagecoach smartcards, London Oyster cards and Greater Manchester Get Me There smartcards.

The government could introduce National Rail Smartcards. Then whether we buy a basic ticket eg Reading - Oxford Off-peak Day Return or a First Advance Single from Glasgow Central to Preston for Thursday July 16th at 12.30 (disclaimer - I have made up the timing without reference to the timetable), it could be loaded to the Smartcard. We could have our own online account telling us what tickets have been loaded to the Smartcard. Also, station and on-board staff would have scanners that could read our Smartcard. So if for example, we have booked Advance Singles from Wolverhampton to Manchester Piccadilly and back but forgotten which train we booked for the return leg, we could still easily find out through our account or rail staff with scanners.
 

Bletchleyite

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Whichever part of the entertainment industry you are in clearly has an antiquated system. I have been using paper tickets to access sports grounds for years without any staff involvement at all - you scan the ticket, the turnstile/gate unlocks and you enter. Obviously if the scan fails someone will come over to assist but exactly the same happens if a ticket held on a phone fails to unlock the turnstile/gate.
If you're using barcode tech, it doesn't matter what the barcode is printed on - your phone, a piece of A4, a credit card sized ticket or your mother-in-law's poodle. The point is that it's technology-agnostic. So I would certainly support converting TVMs from issuing magstripe tickets to e-tickets, but I wouldn't really see much sense in full abolition.

Potentially NFC could be used to allow those with a phone who have the e-ticket on an app to pass the barrier a little quicker.
 

WelshBluebird

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It does seem the industry is slowly moving to being more friendly to passengers when it comes to smart ticketing.
E.g. GWR finally now email you a PDF of your e-ticket, instead of it being locked inside the mobile app.
The main issue is that these customer friendly things should have been the case from the start!
 

Bletchleyite

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It does seem the industry is slowly moving to being more friendly to passengers when it comes to smart ticketing.
E.g. GWR finally now email you a PDF of your e-ticket, instead of it being locked inside the mobile app.
The main issue is that these customer friendly things should have been the case from the start!
And the M-ticket should never have existed - if barcode-type e-tickets weren't viable back then, they should just have left it a couple of years until they were.

That said, the view back then was that that was nowhere near secure enough - I recall suggesting a system not dissimilar to e-tickets on here a number of years ago and getting it practically laughed out of the thread. This sort of missed the point that it doesn't matter if it's less secure than paper tickets, what matters is that it's at least overall revenue neutral and ideally positive, which I suspect it probably is.
 

JonathanH

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Smartcards could be an effective way of replacing paper tickets. Examples already in place are Stagecoach smartcards, London Oyster cards and Greater Manchester Get Me There smartcards.

The government could introduce National Rail Smartcards. Then whether we buy a basic ticket eg Reading - Oxford Off-peak Day Return or a First Advance Single from Glasgow Central to Preston for Thursday July 16th at 12.30 (disclaimer - I have made up the timing without reference to the timetable), it could be loaded to the Smartcard. We could have our own online account telling us what tickets have been loaded to the Smartcard. Also, station and on-board staff would have scanners that could read our Smartcard. So if for example, we have booked Advance Singles from Wolverhampton to Manchester Piccadilly and back but forgotten which train we booked for the return leg, we could still easily find out through our account or rail staff with scanners.
Doesn't sound particularly smart if you have to look up somewhere else which tickets are loaded to it.
 

dm1

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Smartcards could be an effective way of replacing paper tickets. Examples already in place are Stagecoach smartcards, London Oyster cards and Greater Manchester Get Me There smartcards.

The government could introduce National Rail Smartcards. Then whether we buy a basic ticket eg Reading - Oxford Off-peak Day Return or a First Advance Single from Glasgow Central to Preston for Thursday July 16th at 12.30 (disclaimer - I have made up the timing without reference to the timetable), it could be loaded to the Smartcard. We could have our own online account telling us what tickets have been loaded to the Smartcard. Also, station and on-board staff would have scanners that could read our Smartcard. So if for example, we have booked Advance Singles from Wolverhampton to Manchester Piccadilly and back but forgotten which train we booked for the return leg, we could still easily find out through our account or rail staff with scanners.
That is almost exactly how the SwissPass in Switzerland works. It's a photographic, personalised card with two RFID chips, a QR code and a barcode on it - one chip for normal transport uses, and one (it being Switzerland) for use as a ski pass in ski resorts. It can have normal tickets, advances, season tickets and various types of railcards loaded onto it, as well as a whole host of other partner schemes (bike and car hire schemes in cities for example, as well as the aforementioned ski passes). It can be read by any ticket inspectors or other staff from any of the multitude of transport companies in Switzerland using a smartphone - either using the chip or via the barcode/QR code. Tickets bought via the app are also (to an extent) accessible via the card, and the app itself can also be used to display a digital version of the card (although this has a slightly more limited functionality as the chips are not available).

There's no reason something like this couldn't be done in the UK, but I fear it would require a level of coordination, integration and planning that is rather uncommon in the british transport industry.
 

PeterC

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Whichever part of the entertainment industry you are in clearly has an antiquated system. I have been using paper tickets to access sports grounds for years without any staff involvement at all - you scan the ticket, the turnstile/gate unlocks and you enter. Obviously if the scan fails someone will come over to assist but exactly the same happens if a ticket held on a phone fails to unlock the turnstile/gate.
Not sure of your point there, turnstiles are fine for a stadium but do you really expect them to be installed at thousads of mid range venues like Green Note, Jazz Cafe or St Pancras Old Church? (To name but three of the ones used by just one of my clients when I edited a listings magazine)
 

AM9

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But you haven't compared fairly there.
I'd suggest the majority of people do have a smartphone that is reliable and charged.

Sometimes people make problems for themselves.

I mean, do you walk around with your phone turned off? Is it so unreliable that you struggle to use it?

Flip things around and you have people walking around with barely legible pieces of paper that could be altered, lost, defaced in other ways, that increasingly lose their magnetic coding, that also don't provide any sort of usage details.

I'd rather have something that I've paid thousands of pounds for stored digitally in the cloud (ie an app) than on a small piece of card that I may forget. I'd never forget my phone and with longer than ever battery life + charging points on and increasing number of trains, people seem more determined to make excuses than be realistic.
A majority of the population 'has' a smartphone, not all of them are necessarily reliable, nor are they all new so a fair proportion of them may not be reliably charged towards the later part of the day.
Not sure what you mean by: "Sometimes people make problems for themselves."
Sometimes my phone is turned off, especially when travelling on class 22x trains. No it isn't unreliable but like any consumer electronic device, I wouldn't stake my life on it. I have never had a problem with the legibility of a paper ticket*, I always carry it with me and to date, I've never heard of a paper ticket having a flat battery. I just don't understand why so many people have a problem with paper tickets, I have been using them since the '60s, they weigh practically nothing and fit in a card wallet perfectly. Yet there have been plenty of posts here of people not being able to show a valid ticket because they couldn't stop playing with their phone and they'd flattened the battery. Suggesting that: "people seem more determined to make excuses than be realistic." is simply insulting, - maybe you could to examine why you have a problem with others wanting to continue with a long-established method of fare payment proof.
* The only problem I've ever had with print legibility was with a paper Network Railcard after about 9 months continuous use. Easily fixed nowadays with a plastic senior railcard. No electronics or battery needed.
 
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sheff1

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Not sure of your point there, turnstiles are fine for a stadium but do you really expect them to be installed at thousads of mid range venues like Green Note, Jazz Cafe or St Pancras Old Church? (To name but three of the ones used by just one of my clients when I edited a listings magazine)
The point I was trying to make is that paper tickets can be scanned/checked without the need for contact - the turnstiles were just an example. The post to which I was replying suggested paper tickets always needed to be "handed over" which is not the case. If the venue is scanning mobile tickets it can scan paper tickets as well (has happened to me many times). If the venue is just looking at mobile tickets without touching them it can do the same with paper tickets.
 

XAM2175

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The compromise here that allows for single-use tickets to remain available without major changes to current infrastructure is the disposable ITSO-compatible smartcard, I would think. They can be dispensed at TVMs and booking offices from rolls or fan-fold feeds and have human-readable text printed thermally as with current cardstock, so the only major change is replacing the mag-stripe encoder with one for RF cards.

Alongside long-term ITSO smartcards for frequent travellers, NFC and contactless payment cards for simple trips in PAYG areas, and barcoding for e-tickets (and those issued where RF encoding isn't available) you have accessibility and choice on a par with - and over time exceeding - the current system.

They've been used for the Glasgow Subway for about seven years now.
 

Bletchleyite

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The compromise here that allows for single-use tickets to remain available without major changes to current infrastructure is the disposable ITSO-compatible smartcard, I would think. They can be dispensed at TVMs and booking offices from rolls or fan-fold feeds and have human-readable text printed thermally as with current cardstock
Much more costly than the simpler option of just printing barcodes on them.
 

Inthewest

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A majority of the population 'has' a smartphone, not all of them are necessarily reliable, nor are they all new so a fair proportion of them may not be reliably charged towards the later part of the day.

I've never heard of a paper ticket having a flat battery.
But the world today is electronic.
Many shops now as if you want an email receipt instead of a paper one, for example.

Problem is, when you're of a more senior age, it's well known you (not you personally) tend to be stuck in your comfortable ways. Yet younger generations want to use different, easier for them methods.

You say you now have a plastic senior railcard... which you got online yes? And you say it's better than a paper one. But imagine the people who still want paper ones. They're also on the way out as electronic ones (and better battery life on phones) become better value and easier for people to adjust to.

With plugs on many trains now, having a phone charged is pretty easy. For those under 40, I'd suggest it's a high priority and not just for train tickets. People use their phones for connectivity.

Of course a paper ticket won't have a flat battery - don't be daft. But it's an extra thing to worry about when someone could easily have it on their phone instead.

I understand, you like paper tickets. But like it or not, the green credentials aren't good and these things will move on, with or without you.
 

Non Multi

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But the world today is electronic.
Many shops now as if you want an email receipt instead of a paper one, for example.

Problem is, when you're of a more senior age, it's well known you (not you personally) tend to be stuck in your comfortable ways. Yet younger generations want to use different, easier for them methods.

You say you now have a plastic senior railcard... which you got online yes? And you say it's better than a paper one. But imagine the people who still want paper ones. They're also on the way out as electronic ones (and better battery life on phones) become better value and easier for people to adjust to.

With plugs on many trains now, having a phone charged is pretty easy. For those under 40, I'd suggest it's a high priority and not just for train tickets. People use their phones for connectivity.

Of course a paper ticket won't have a flat battery - don't be daft. But it's an extra thing to worry about when someone could easily have it on their phone instead.

I understand, you like paper tickets. But like it or not, the green credentials aren't good and these things will move on, with or without you.
You do know paper can be recycled?
 

yorksrob

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But the world today is electronic.
Many shops now as if you want an email receipt instead of a paper one, for example.

Problem is, when you're of a more senior age, it's well known you (not you personally) tend to be stuck in your comfortable ways. Yet younger generations want to use different, easier for them methods.

You say you now have a plastic senior railcard... which you got online yes? And you say it's better than a paper one. But imagine the people who still want paper ones. They're also on the way out as electronic ones (and better battery life on phones) become better value and easier for people to adjust to.

With plugs on many trains now, having a phone charged is pretty easy. For those under 40, I'd suggest it's a high priority and not just for train tickets. People use their phones for connectivity.

Of course a paper ticket won't have a flat battery - don't be daft. But it's an extra thing to worry about when someone could easily have it on their phone instead.

I understand, you like paper tickets. But like it or not, the green credentials aren't good and these things will move on, with or without you.
If ways are "comfortable", it suggests that the alternatives are less comfortable, which suggests to me we should stick with the comfortable ones.
 

alistairlees

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You do know paper can be recycled?
He probably does. CCST tickets have a magnetic strip on the back though, which means they can't be. When tickets were only produced in this way it meant around a billion of these were thrown away every year, though the number is declining with increasing take up of smartcards and mobile tickets.
 

AM9

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But the world today is electronic.
Many shops now as if you want an email receipt instead of a paper one, for example. ...
So that they have your e-mail, - customer contact lists are valuable in their own right.

... Problem is, when you're of a more senior age, it's well known you (not you personally) tend to be stuck in your comfortable ways. Yet younger generations want to use different, easier for them methods. ...
Younger generations can use what they like as far as I'm concerned. "Comfortable ways" as you patronisingly say are for everybody, not just those "of a more senior age".

You say you now have a plastic senior railcard... which you got online yes? And you say it's better than a paper one. But imagine the people who still want paper ones. Plastic is more durable, doesn't fade and fits in a card wallet just like tickets always have. They are the ideal medium for a 'pass' that has to last up to three years, and I doubt that there are any people who prefer to have a paper pass, - they only have them because they didn't, can't or don't want to apply on line.
They're also on the way out as electronic ones (and better battery life on phones) become better value and easier for people to adjust to. ...
If you think that plastic railcards are on the way out, you must be able to give a link to where it has been announced. I have had mobiles for nearly 30 years. I am aware that they are getting cheaper and am on my 4th smartphone. I am also aware that phones do fail sometimes, but if I need to keep a phone working all day I take a portable charger.

With plugs on many trains now, having a phone charged is pretty easy. For those under 40, I'd suggest it's a high priority and not just for train tickets. People use their phones for connectivity. ...
It is a high priority to me but not for money transactions or tickets.

... Of course a paper ticket won't have a flat battery - don't be daft. ...
Whoosh!

... I understand, you like paper tickets. But like it or not, the green credentials aren't good and these things will move on, with or without you. ...
I like my freedom to use various types of tickets, as do many others, and losing them is not 'moving on'. Paper tickets as discussed in this thread are not necessarily mag stripe. Maybe you should read back before posting patronising rubbish like this.
 

XAM2175

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Much more costly than the simpler option of just printing barcodes on them.
I agree entirely, but in the context of earlier discussions regarding the potential complications of using higher volumes of barcoded tickets at barriers disposable smartcard tickets strike me as being the optimum compromise of replacing mag-stripe ticketing (and the increasing costs associated with its upkeep) while maintaining compatibility with existing barriers (including ones not yet fitted with barcode readers) and not incurring the barrier throughput penalty that currently occurs with barcoded tickets.
 

Bletchleyite

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I agree entirely, but in the context of earlier discussions regarding the potential complications of using higher volumes of barcoded tickets at barriers disposable smartcard tickets strike me as being the optimum compromise of replacing mag-stripe ticketing (and the increasing costs associated with its upkeep) while maintaining compatibility with existing barriers (including ones not yet fitted with barcode readers) and not incurring the barrier throughput penalty that currently occurs with barcoded tickets.
Reading barcodes isn't difficult or slow with the right kit. After all, have you seen the rate Aldi cashiers do it at? The problem is that the wrong kit is being used - it's cheap, nasty and slow.
 

Haywain

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Reading barcodes isn't difficult or slow with the right kit. After all, have you seen the rate Aldi cashiers do it at? The problem is that the wrong kit is being used - it's cheap, nasty and slow.
Or is the problem that it isn't being done by Aldi checkout operators?
 

AM9

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Or is the problem that it isn't being done by Aldi checkout operators?
I don't frequent Aldi, but there's no shortage of barcode, and specifically QR code readers that can easily handle throughput required at the busiest gatelines.
 

Haywain

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I don't frequent Aldi, but there's no shortage of barcode, and specifically QR code readers that can easily handle throughput required at the busiest gatelines.
Part of the problem is the presentation of the barcode, the same as happens at self-service checkouts at supermarkets where many people are very noticeably slower that the professionals.
 

DelW

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It does seem the industry is slowly moving to being more friendly to passengers when it comes to smart ticketing.
E.g. GWR finally now email you a PDF of your e-ticket, instead of it being locked inside the mobile app.
The main issue is that these customer friendly things should have been the case from the start!
If so, they don't tell you that though!

Last Wednesday (01/07), I booked a ticket for travel next week on the GWR website. I was looking for a print at home or pdf ticket, but all it offered me were:
  1. Some form of electronic ticket, which it told me had to be downloaded to, and stored in, the GWR app
  2. Paper ticket by post
  3. Paper ticket from TOD machine.
Now I don't trust relying on a phone app, nor do I trust TOC apps to be secure or reliable, so that rules out (1). I've had problems with a faulty TOD machine at my local station, and have no wish to waste another half day trying to resolve them, as happened last time, so that rules out (3). So the only option it left me was to have a paper ticket posted to me, at my expense, which is what I did.

At least now I have the ticket physically in my possession :)
 

_toommm_

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If so, they don't tell you that though!

Last Wednesday (01/07), I booked a ticket for travel next week on the GWR website. I was looking for a print at home or pdf ticket, but all it offered me were:
  1. Some form of electronic ticket, which it told me had to be downloaded to, and stored in, the GWR app
  2. Paper ticket by post
  3. Paper ticket from TOD machine.
Now I don't trust relying on a phone app, nor do I trust TOC apps to be secure or reliable, so that rules out (1). I've had problems with a faulty TOD machine at my local station, and have no wish to waste another half day trying to resolve them, as happened last time, so that rules out (3). So the only option it left me was to have a paper ticket posted to me, at my expense, which is what I did.

At least now I have the ticket physically in my possession :)
Both the GWR and TPE website still tell you that their tickets have to be displayed in the app, but both apps give you the option to store them in the app or use the pdfs sent as an email.
 

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