Paper tickets vs E-tickets

Which is best ticketing style (in opinion)?

  • Credit card style paper tickets

  • E-tickets

  • Smartcard

  • Bar code paper tickets


Results are only viewable after voting.

HST274

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First of all sorry if this already exists but I could not seem to find a thread on it. Also I was not sure this fit in with 'fares advice' as this is more of a 'which do you prefer' not which is better for journeys or makes more sense.

Personally I prefer 'credit card' tickets, as I love being able to slip them through the machines, examine the random details on the tickets and also be able to collect them later on. However I can see that perhaps e tickets are far easier to 'not lose' as they are always on your device whereas as I have discovered in the past physical tickets can find a way to be left on the train. :D Any other opinions would be appreciated.

Robert
 
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fgwrich

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I don't mind E-Tickets, though they do seem difficult for the scanners to read at times and there is the worry that your battery may die or the ticket may not load. However, I think I will stick to good old fashioned paper tickets - more so after using a near useless smart card on one particular TOC last week.
 

Failed Unit

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The e-tickets are great at rural stations without ticket machines. Means you have access to AP tickets, where previously you needed to have them posted. Battery issues can be a problem. (No ran out but you are concerned by power on phone). Scanning them can be painful. But then paper ones are not 100% successful. would love to use my smart card but that isn’t an option outside gtr (the key)
 

Leyland155

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First of all sorry if this already exists but I could not seem to find a thread on it. Also I was not sure this fit in with 'fares advice' as this is more of a 'which do you prefer' not which is better for journeys or makes more sense.

Personally I prefer 'credit card' tickets, as I love being able to slip them through the machines, examine the random details on the tickets and also be able to collect them later on. However I can see that perhaps e tickets are far easier to 'not lose' as they are always on your device whereas as I have discovered in the past physical tickets can find a way to be left on the train. :D Any other opinions would be appreciated.

Robert
I'm the same, I much prefer the feeling of having a physical ticket in my pocket when travelling. Plus, I sometimes like to keep them as a trip memento. Funnily enough, the one time I used a digital ticket of sorts (I paid to upgrade to first class on Virgin Trains using the Seatfrog app) I found my phone had completely crashed when on the train and I was unable to show the ticket! Luckily I had a printed standard ticket, so it was standard class for me that day and a wasted £20 :lol:
 

Parallel

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I’ve noticed that e-tickets don’t include a break of journey, at least the ones from GWR don’t... When the same ticket but on paper, does. If I’m making a simple journey, then I prefer e-tickets but if I’m planning a long journey, I will normally have a paper one.
 

Welshman

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As you may deduce from my thread re availability of e-tickets on the tickets section of the forum, I much prefer e-tickets to TOD or tickets on an app.

I am not happy about downloading yet another app, and the uncertainties re battery life and retrieving the tickets when required.

I have usually chosen TOD, but as I am not happy about leaving collection just before the actual journey in case of problems with the TVM and/or queues at the machine/booking-office and possibily missing the train, I have usually collected the tickets before my date of travel. This often necessitated an extra journey to a station with a TVM [which could be some distance in a rural area], and the faff of collecting them.

{I remember on one occasion of using TOD and the tickets did not print-out correctly. The booking-office could not/would not re-issue them, and as my chosen train was due I was advised to travel on it and explain to the various conductors [it was a journey involving several tocs] what had happened. This added extra stress to the journey. As it happened, the conductors accepted my explanations, smiled and passed-on, but I could have done without the anxiety.}

So e-tickets are definitely my preferred choice - to print out the ticket almost immediately after booking it and know that you have all you need is very reassuring. Hence my annoyance that not all flows are available for collection in that manner.
 

birchesgreen

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I prefer paper tickets but I tend to get e-tickets now, for the simple reason is I've found the TVMs at my local station rather unreliable, a problem which seems to be getting worse - I don't know if WMR are reducing maintenance or something. So e-tickets it is, one less thing to worry about.
 

_toommm_

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I’ve noticed that e-tickets don’t include a break of journey, at least the ones from GWR don’t... When the same ticket but on paper, does. If I’m making a simple journey, then I prefer e-tickets but if I’m planning a long journey, I will normally have a paper one.

FirstGroup state that you can’t have a BoJ with an e-ticket, but they can’t alter the T&Cs of a ticket just because of its fulfilment method. If the equivalent paper ticket allows BoJ, so will the e-ticket.
 

Techniquest

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E-tickets all the way for me, download it into the app or by PDF if necessary and I'm sorted. Especially handy if, like on Thursday, I had only a few minutes before my next train and I didn't really have time to faff around and find the TVM, buy tickets and return to the platform. Bought my e-ticket in the app within a couple of minutes, during a rare time the GWR app was actually working properly on my first try, and job done.

I'm on a mission to reduce my paper ticket use, purely as an environmental concern. So imagine my dismay recently when I bought a day return to Honeybourne, for a trip with my bike. Mandatory cycle reservations required AND seat reservations when booking through the GWR app, so when it includes the card receipt I had NINE pieces of ticket out of the machine. The actual ticket's outward and return portions, the mandatory seat reservation for each direction, passenger copy of the cycle reservation for both legs, the copy to attach to the bike for both legs and the receipt.

Given not only myself but practically everyone foregos attaching the cycle reservation to the bike, it is an incredible waste. Without that bit, I could have had it all on my phone instead.

I do like having a paper ticket sometimes, but I would much rather just go digital. I'm surprised smartcard use isn't more widespread, indeed I'd use that happily but I'm not a regular traveller and smartcard use only appears to be for season ticket holders at the moment. One day, maybe the next generation will get it...
 

_toommm_

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I commute in advance tickets, so to save lots of faffing with paper and collection references, I’ll use e-tickets all the time through the TPE app (because of the Nectar points).

If I’m making a special trip, or going on a day out, I’ll use paper tickets and keep them as a little souvenir.
 

HST274

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I have usually chosen TOD, but as I am not happy about leaving collection just before the actual journey in case of problems with the TVM and/or queues at the machine/booking-office and possibily missing the train, I have usually collected the tickets before my date of travel. This often necessitated an extra journey to a station with a TVM [which could be some distance in a rural area], and the faff of collecting them.
Myself I still get a little thrill of putting in the code and listening to the familiar wirr as they are printed. However my local station is only a twenty minute walk so I can imagine the faff of having to travel much farther.
 

island

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I’ve noticed that e-tickets don’t include a break of journey, at least the ones from GWR don’t... When the same ticket but on paper, does. If I’m making a simple journey, then I prefer e-tickets but if I’m planning a long journey, I will normally have a paper one.
The medium of a ticket (paper/e-ticket/etc.) does not change the eligibility of the ticket for break of journey.
 

YorksLad12

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Paper tickets if I'm making a journey I'll get travel expenses for. I submit the card with the total paid, which doesn't show which class I travelled in ;)

In-app tickets are good unless you bought your Leeds-Wakefield ticket with... anyone, and try to exit Wakefield Westgate where the readers only work with certain tickets from only one operator.

What I'd really like is for all of these accounts to be linked. If I've bought a ticket I should be able to have a printed version, an e-ticket and an in-app version. If I forget the printed version I can still use the app, for example. But most sites on checkout insist you have one or the other, without even the option of the e-ticket as a backup.
 

alistairlees

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What I'd really like is for all of these accounts to be linked. If I've bought a ticket I should be able to have a printed version, an e-ticket and an in-app version. If I forget the printed version I can still use the app, for example. But most sites on checkout insist you have one or the other, without even the option of the e-ticket as a backup.
eTickets already solve this. You can print them, show them on your device, store them in your email, etc. There isn't really a need for an app, though there's no eason for them not to work in one either.
 

johntea

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eTickets are fine, just store the PDF anywhere (or even print it!)

mTickets are not and I don't quite understand why they're still a thing in 2021, I bought one on the Northern app today and accidentally forgot to switch the wall socket on at work so by the time I was on my return journey my battery was at 1%! Luckily it just about spluttered through to the ticket check on board but I had a perfectly capable iPad in my backpack which I could have presented a copy of my ticket on had it been an eTicket rather than a mTicket (I even tried downloading the Northern app onto the iPad and signing in, which showed my tickets but 'downloaded on another device already' error)
 

infobleep

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Nothing against etickets but as most of my tickets are walk up tickets, they are usually purchased from a ticket vending machine,

Some of my journeys may not even be avilable as etickets yet.

I do have a South Western Railway TouchSmart card but as I didn't find it all that smart yet I've hardly used it. For example you can't buy point to point tickets on the app and even if you could, it doesn't offer a via point function. I appreciate that isn't an etickets though.
 

Bletchleyite

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What I'd really like is for all of these accounts to be linked. If I've bought a ticket I should be able to have a printed version, an e-ticket and an in-app version. If I forget the printed version I can still use the app, for example. But most sites on checkout insist you have one or the other, without even the option of the e-ticket as a backup.

Some of them do (this seems to be the case with FirstGroup apps). One that does it properly is the LNR app (and it has a pretty good user interface, too, and no Trainline fees). It appears in the app but you're also e-mailed it to do whatever you like with, e.g. print etc.

What would be nice would be to be able to log into your ticketing account at a TVM and reprint, e.g. if you've been mugged or something. This wouldn't allow for two-factor authentication, but if it was limited functionality where you could just retrieve e-tickets you'd already bought and reprint them that wouldn't really matter.
 

lxfe_mxtterz

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I've never used an e-ticket; I've always opted to print paper ones at the station (which nine times out of ten don't even work when they go through the barriers).

The one thing that deters me from using e-tickets is the possibility of my phone battery running out during the day and therefore not being able to provide a valid ticket and/or navigate the barriers after which.

I also prefer having a "physical" ticket as it gives me the feeling of more security (although that may be considered counter-intuitive as it's probably much easier to lose a paper ticket). Similar reason why I prefer using physical cash (notes and coins) over bank cards, etc. which have given me endless troubles since day one.

Edit: Re post #17, what is the difference between e-tickets and m-tickets? I assumed e-tickets were the tickets you download on your phone and scan at the barriers? Have I the wrong idea?
 

trei2k

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Shouldn't we also add in smartcards here?

What is the point to point availability on smartcards like across the network at the moment?

ScotRail allow you to buy point to point Smartcard tickets (albeit not E-Tickets). I enjoy just buying the point to point ticket on my phone and loading it directly onto the Smartcard via RFID. The only slight issue is that it struggles with a break of journey.

If I had the choice it would be (ranked):

1. Smartcard most favoured.
2. E-ticket
3. Paper is least favoured.
 

yorkie

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I much prefer e-tickets, as you don't have to rely on the TOD process working and it also makes handling combinations of tickets far easier (you can simply get one PDF with all the tickets!) and avoids the risks of losing or misplacing your ticket.
Never bought an e-ticket. I like the paper ones much better.
I don't understand how a paper ticket is much better; you can choose to make an e-ticket a paper ticket if you print it!

ScotRail allow you to buy point to point Smartcard tickets (albeit not E-Tickets). I enjoy just buying the point to point ticket on my phone and loading it directly onto the Smartcard via RFID. The only slight issue is that it struggles with a break of journey.
Why faff with a Smartcard and be tied to that, when you can have the e-ticket on any device? This makes no sense.

e-tickets have worked fine for me breaking my journey lately; much more so than paper tickets!

I've never used an e-ticket; I've always opted to print paper ones at the station (which nine times out of ten don't even work when they go through the barriers).
None of my recent e-tickets have failed to work.
The one thing that deters me from using e-tickets is the possibility of my phone battery running out during the day and therefore not being able to provide a valid ticket and/or navigate the barriers after which.
You could print a backup.
Edit: Re post #17, what is the difference between e-tickets and m-tickets? I assumed e-tickets were the tickets you download on your phone and scan at the barriers? Have I the wrong idea?
See previous threads ;) For example this one, from last week:
In summary: e-tickets are great; m-tickets are terrible and should be avoided.
Nothing against etickets but as most of my tickets are walk up tickets, they are usually purchased from a ticket vending machine,
I find it easier to buy tickets using my phone.
Some of my journeys may not even be avilable as etickets yet.
That's a failure of the operators in question, not a limitation of the medium.
I do have a South Western Railway TouchSmart card but as I didn't find it all that smart yet I've hardly used it. For example you can't buy point to point tickets on the app and even if you could, it doesn't offer a via point function. I appreciate that isn't an etickets though.
Smart cards are a poor relation to e-tickets
 

Bletchleyite

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Smartcards probably have a role for season tickets and may solve the London outboundary Travelcard problem. However they aren't ideal for other purposes, not least because you can't see what's on them.

That said, as the same kit reads them as contactless and NFC, it probably won't cost much to keep them around for those who want them, so they might as well hang around.

The "end game" will no doubt be that every barrier and scanning device is permanently online, and all you need to read is an ID number which is then checked against a database in real time to see if that refers to a ticket valid to pass the barrier. You could then have a barcode on the back of a Railcard and associate a ticket to that, say.
 

yorkie

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Paper tickets if I'm making a journey I'll get travel expenses for.
Surely e-tickets make expenses easier? Just upload the PDF rather than take a photo of the ticket?
I submit the card with the total paid, which doesn't show which class I travelled in ;)
If you are attaching only a receipt, surely the ticket medium does not affect this?
In-app tickets are good unless you bought your Leeds-Wakefield ticket with... anyone, and try to exit Wakefield Westgate where the readers only work with certain tickets from only one operator.
e-tickets are not restricted to apps. You are thinking of inferior m-tickets.
What I'd really like is for all of these accounts to be linked. If I've bought a ticket I should be able to have a printed version, an e-ticket and an in-app version. If I forget the printed version I can still use the app, for example. But most sites on checkout insist you have one or the other, without even the option of the e-ticket as a backup.
That's what an e-ticket is! You can print it if you want. Some retailers allow the tickets to be shown in an app as well as as a PDF file (if a retailer forces you to use a specific app and does not give you a PDF, then that's an m-ticket and should be avoided)
 

lxfe_mxtterz

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None of my recent e-tickets have failed to work.
Sorry if I wasn't clear. It's the paper tickets which never work for me - it's like every ticket printed at my local station is faulty and refuses to co-operate with the barriers.
You could print a backup.
And that's the thing that confuses me. I wasn't previously aware that you could print the tickets - I assumed that they were restricted to your phone.

Maybe I'll give them a go (with the printed copy, of course) when I'm out again next weekend as it's a right fuss having to find a member of staff to let me through the barriers at every station!
 

Bletchleyite

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That's what an e-ticket is! You can print it if you want. Some retailers allow the tickets to be shown in an app as well as as a PDF file (if a retailer forces you to use a specific app and does not give you a PDF, then that's an m-ticket and should be avoided)

GWR and TPE used to have a silly setup where if you bought an e-ticket on their app you wouldn't be sent an e-mail with the PDF even though it was a barcode e-ticket. There was no need for this inflexibility. I don't entirely get why they did that - does anyone know if they still do?

The LNR app is a good choice if you want proper e-tickets, and it has quite a good UI including displaying them in-app if you want, and no fees.
 

YorksLad12

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What would be nice would be to be able to log into your ticketing account at a TVM and reprint, e.g. if you've been mugged or something. This wouldn't allow for two-factor authentication, but if it was limited functionality where you could just retrieve e-tickets you'd already bought and reprint them that wouldn't really matter.
Quite. If you've bought a ticket and can prove you've bought a ticket you should be abe to get a reprint of a ticket...

eTickets are fine, just store the PDF anywhere (or even print it!)

mTickets are not and I don't quite understand why they're still a thing in 2021, I bought one on the Northern app today and accidentally forgot to switch the wall socket on at work so by the time I was on my return journey my battery was at 1%! Luckily it just about spluttered through to the ticket check on board but I had a perfectly capable iPad in my backpack which I could have presented a copy of my ticket on had it been an eTicket rather than a mTicket (I even tried downloading the Northern app onto the iPad and signing in, which showed my tickets but 'downloaded on another device already' error)
... or use a different device because it's in your account. The TPE app shows (last time I checked) you've bought a paper ticket but doesn't allow you to use an in-app mTicket equivalent.

Why faff with a Smartcard and be tied to that, when you can have the e-ticket on any device? This makes no sense.
Another good point: smartcards are a fourth option that should be connected into one account. And, if I've one smartcard from one operator I should be able to load a ticket from a different operator on it via ITSO. WYCA introduced an MCard app for iDevices last year; it doesn't connect to your existing MCard account so you can't tell what you have left on your MCard.

I can look at my bank account on different mobile devices, my laptop and in branch. Train ticket accounts should allow the same functionality instead of pushing us towards several unconnected possibilities. Harrumph.
 

yorkie

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Sorry if I wasn't clear. It's the paper tickets which never work for me - it's like every ticket printed at my local station is faulty and refuses to co-operate with the barriers.
Yes, sorry I didn't make it clear that I was giving your experience with paper tickets as a reason why e-tickets are potentially better!

And that's the thing that confuses me. I wasn't previously aware that you could print the tickets - I assumed that they were restricted to your phone.
They are not restricted to anything. So for example I may have a copy on my phone and my laptop. If I was concerned about loss of battery power I'd print one too. If you are travelling as a group, you can even give every member of the group all the e-tickets as an extra insurance policy.

When I travel abroad with a group we tend to get issued with e-tickets these days and what we often do is each have a copy of everyone's ticket (electronically) and also print a copy. Far less chance of losing the ticket that way!

Maybe I'll give them a go (with the printed copy, of course) when I'm out again next weekend as it's a right fuss having to find a member of staff to let me through the barriers at every station!
Yep I've had e tickets accepted without any issues at multiple locations lately; I can't remember the last time I had an issue with an e-ticket not working the barriers. Occasionally I may have to go to a different gate, but that's about it.

Quite. If you've bought a ticket and can prove you've bought a ticket you should be abe to get a reprint of a ticket..
Maybe so, but this is not generally possible with paper tickets, so a good reason to avoid them.
 

HST274

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refuses to co-operate with the barriers.
I too have had some problems at times. One of the more recent ones being that a single failed to let me out for a break of journey and I had to be let out and in again by staff.
On the other hand my ticket from an HST journey bugged at St Pancras so it meant I could keep it as they just let me out manually.:D That is a very specific occurrence though.
 

Bletchleyite

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I too have had some problems at times. One of the more recent ones being that a single failed to let me out for a break of journey and I had to be let out and in again by staff.

Generally break of journey won't open barriers (other than at places you'd be expected to interchange, like at New St the barriers are set with very wide* acceptance) because it's just too complex a thing to implement. That doesn't really change much by whether it's an e-ticket or a paper one.

* I did think they were just set to accept anything with a magstripe, but I tried some silly examples (tickets for wrong dates and tickets that went nowhere near New St, I seem to recall I bought something silly specifically to try it, might have been Georgemas-Wick or something) and they didn't work, so clearly someone has spent the time to program in anything that is vaguely feasible.
 

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