The future of m-tickets: should they be abolished in favour of e-tickets

najaB

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Mod note: Split from https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...g-contempt-for-fare-paying-passengers.185168/
m-tickets are a failed experiment. They should be abolished immediately IMO.
While implementations of m-tickets vary, they are very useful and most certainly should not be abolished. They are the perfect replacement for carnets since you can have a number of them stored in your online wallet and only convert them to a ticket instance as and when you need to.
 
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R

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While implementations of m-tickets vary, they are very useful and most certainly should not be abolished. They are the perfect replacement for carnets since you can have a number of them stored in your online wallet and only convert them to a ticket instance as and when you need to.
I don't see anything wrong with smart ticketing either, whether it exists as a QR code in a PDF or in your "wallet" on your Android or iPhone. The hopeful end goal is to phase out the need to print disposable paper tickets that are subject to their own gripes (encoding failure, faded print, water damage, etc) for a form of proof of permission to travel.

The nice things about these smart systems is that where someone really is trying to cheat or defraud the system, they are more likely to end up leaving a digital trail that would make prosecution a walk in the park. Which, IMO, is far better than the current system that turns the unfortunate into criminals using "aha, gotcha!" tactics.
 

yorkie

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My understanding is that m-tickets are being abolished. Some people may not be happy about this but I will be glad to see the back of them!
Mod note: Split from https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...g-contempt-for-fare-paying-passengers.185168/

While implementations of m-tickets vary, they are very useful and most certainly should not be abolished. They are the perfect replacement for carnets since you can have a number of them stored in your online wallet and only convert them to a ticket instance as and when you need to.
They cause no end of trouble; I don't really see any advantages of an m-ticket over an e-ticket.

I am not sure if there are any proposals for carnets via e-tickets, but in principle I see no particular reason why they couldn't work.

That said, carnets are problematical for many reasons, and I would avoid them due to the risk of prosecution if you make a mistake.
 

Saperstein

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The thing I’ve got about m-tickets is the time they take to load, depending on your device or the app in question, especially if a grip is unexpected.

I once got into a bit of a dispute with a Northern guard out of Leads, I was going to Cross Gates and had a m-ticket, I think it may have been the Trainline (yes I know!).

I was unexpectedly challenged, (had passed through the ticket barriers at Leads only about 5 minutes previously!)

Anyway, I could not load the infernal thing and he started by trying to sell me a new ticket, he then went away to grip other pax on the Selby-bound sprinter and came back to me just past Neville Hill.

I was still struggling with the dam thing but just as we were slowing down for the Cross Gates stop I got it going, he was gutted lol.

More recently I bought a Wales day m-ticket from Arriva (Bus), I activated said ticket and got it ready to show the driver and just as the bus pulled up it went into lock screen (iPhone) great lol.

The attached is a screen shot of that ticket, the QR code changes every few seconds and the picture alternates between the current time and the word of the day.
 
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radamfi

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There is no need to keep m-tickets just for carnets as smartcards are a better way of holding carnets anyway.
 
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takno

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I absolutely hate virtually all apps beyond the built in ones. Nobody does enough testing across devices, nobody employs enough developers who are good enough to write that kind of software (there aren't many of them to employ), and the app stores are a terrible distribution mechanism.

Entrusting my money, my good name, and my future employment prospects to an app seems foolhardy at the best of times. When that app has been produced by operators like arriva, who seem anxious for people to not be able to show tickets so that they can funnel them into their demanding-money-with-menaces operation, I think you'd be crossing the line into self-inflicted lunacy. The benefit is mostly to the train company and the risk is mostly to you
 

alistairlees

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I am not sure if there are any proposals for carnets via e-tickets, but in principle I see no particular reason why they couldn't work.
Already done - there have been carnet as eTickets on Caledonian Sleeper for over a year now. They replaced self print. It’s an account-based system - the eTicket is created when you make your reservation.
 

alistairlees

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Mod note: Split from https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...g-contempt-for-fare-paying-passengers.185168/

While implementations of m-tickets vary, they are very useful and most certainly should not be abolished. They are the perfect replacement for carnets since you can have a number of them stored in your online wallet and only convert them to a ticket instance as and when you need to.
Nah, we should kill these off ASAP. Forcing customers to download an app just to get a ticket? No point when you can scan barcodes.
 

najaB

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Nah, we should kill these off ASAP. Forcing customers to download an app just to get a ticket? No point when you can scan barcodes.
For Advance tickets I agree, but one point of them is as a replacement for carnets. Yes, these can be loaded onto smart cards, but then as a customer you don't have any way of knowing if the ticket is/isn't loaded onto the card until try to scan it.
 

Bletchleyite

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M-tickets were a poor solution which should be abolished as soon as possible. E-tickets are much better, though I think there are features which should be added (e.g. the ability to log onto an online account at any TVM and print it, e.g. if your phone is broken or you lost your printout, not to mention fixing the Break of Journey bug).
 

Saperstein

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For Advance tickets I agree, but one point of them is as a replacement for carnets. Yes, these can be loaded onto smart cards, but then as a customer you don't have any way of knowing if the ticket is/isn't loaded onto the card until try to scan it.
Which is one reason Merseytravel drum into you to keep the receipt with your topped up Walrus card in case of problems.

Yes, I bought one!

The ticket office at New Brighton reckon I can top it up in Chester, that should be interesting ;)
 

cuccir

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Why are mtickets and etickets still a separate thing? What difference is there between the two - coding? accounting? - that means that you couldn't buy an ticket which can be displayed either in an app, mticket style, or via a barcode, eticket style?
 

Bletchleyite

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Why are mtickets and etickets still a separate thing? What difference is there between the two - coding? accounting? - that means that you couldn't buy an ticket which can be displayed either in an app, mticket style, or via a barcode, eticket style?
You've then got weird hybrids like GWR's app which sells e-tickets (not m-tickets) but you don't get emailed the PDF, it only appears in the app.
 

Aictos

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Nothing wrong with M-tickets, I use them for Stagecoach, Centrebus and Arriva and the only issue I have is sometimes the reader on the buses scans the QR code but then my phone opens up the wallet to pay via Apple Pay.

Nothing wrong with my phone or the M-tickets, just how the ticketeer machine is set up.

I for one don’t want to see a end to M-tickets when there is nothing wrong with the formula, I do want the industry to move away from paper tickets though.
 

mallard

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Can we at least drop the confusing and inaccurate "e-ticket" and "m-ticket" terms? Printed "e" tickets on plain paper are even less "electronic" than an ordinary ticket with a magstripe!

I'd suggest we simply call them "print@home" (or just "PDF" if you want to assure passengers that they don't have to print them) and "app" (or simply "imaginary") tickets.
 

cactustwirly

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M-tickets were a poor solution which should be abolished as soon as possible. E-tickets are much better, though I think there are features which should be added (e.g. the ability to log onto an online account at any TVM and print it, e.g. if your phone is broken or you lost your printout, not to mention fixing the Break of Journey bug).
On SNCF the train guards have a list of email accounts, so that you can still travel even if your phone is out of battery.
One of the only things that SNCF gets right, they have a very good app, and implementation of m-tickets
 

Bletchleyite

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On SNCF the train guards have a list of email accounts, so that you can still travel even if your phone is out of battery.
One of the only things that SNCF gets right, they have a very good app, and implementation of m-tickets
It's a bit easier to do that with compulsory reservations with global fares, as the only potential fraud is of two people with the same reference on the same train which would be really easy to catch out, particularly as one will also be in the wrong seat.

Compulsory reservations/global fares[1] are of course a different debate, but one positive effect of them is of making revenue protection of all kinds hugely easier, because it is really easy to spot someone out of place, and the ticket is either for a seat on that train or it isn't.

[1] i.e. where the ticket *is* the reservation, in the manner of Advances.
 

cactustwirly

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It's a bit easier to do that with compulsory reservations with global fares, as the only potential fraud is of two people with the same reference on the same train which would be really easy to catch out, particularly as one will also be in the wrong seat.

Compulsory reservations/global fares[1] are of course a different debate, but one positive effect of them is of making revenue protection of all kinds hugely easier, because it is really easy to spot someone out of place.

[1] i.e. where the ticket *is* the reservation, in the manner of Advances.
This was for an intercites train, which wasn't reservation compulsory, and I didn't have a seat reservation.
 

yorkie

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Why are mtickets and etickets still a separate thing? What difference is there between the two - coding? accounting? - that means that you couldn't buy an ticket which can be displayed either in an app, mticket style, or via a barcode, eticket style?
Absolutely yes.

In railway terminology, an "m-ticket" is a product that is tied to a specific app on a mobile device. They are error-prone and need to be activated to be valid. There is no good reason for their existence whatsoever; it was a trial and it wasn't a success.

An "e-ticket" does not require validation and is not tied to any app; you can show it in an app (where supported) but it is not tied to an app, so you can show the barcode on an electronic device or printed on paper. As long as the barcode can be scanned, it doesn't matter what format it's in.
 

najaB

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What is the purpose for their existence now we have e-tickets?
  • Carnets.
  • The ability to store tickets in your wallet and activate them without needing a data connection.
  • With correct implementation, the ability to break your journey in a clear and unambiguous way
 

Bletchleyite

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  • Carnets.
  • The ability to store tickets in your wallet and activate them without needing a data connection.
  • With correct implementation, the ability to break your journey in a clear and unambiguous way
I'll give you #1.

You can do #2 with an e-ticket, either download the PDF to Acrobat Reader on your phone or use an app like GWR's which caches them.

You could do #3 with an e-ticket were it not for the incorrect implementation. Indeed, it's far better than an m-ticket, because the latter incorrectly states your ticket has expired on day two.
 

najaB

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I'll give you #1.

You can do #2 with an e-ticket, either download the PDF to Acrobat Reader on your phone or use an app like GWR's which caches them.

You could do #3 with an e-ticket were it not for the incorrect implementation. Indeed, it's far better than an m-ticket, because the latter incorrectly states your ticket has expired on day two.
The problem with #2 is that you need a data connection at the point in time when you decide that you want to travel. With m-tickets you only need a data connection at the point in time that you make your purchase.

My thinking with regards to BoJ is that a correct implementation would include a BoJ button that would record the date and time (and possibly location) when you press it. This would be shown when the ticket is subsequently presented for inspection.
 

Bletchleyite

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The problem with #2 is that you need a data connection at the point in time when you decide that you want to travel. With m-tickets you only need a data connection at the point in time that you make your purchase.
But you don't. You can download to Acrobat or the GWR style app at any time, same as an M-ticket.

My thinking with regards to BoJ is that a correct implementation would include a BoJ button that would record the date and time (and possibly location) when you press it. This would be shown when the ticket is subsequently presented for inspection.
I think that's overcomplicated and unnecessary. It also isn't a reason in support of M-tickets, because the M-ticket implementation does not include it.
 

mirodo

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But you don't. You can download to Acrobat or the GWR style app at any time, same as an M-ticket.
Or, when purchased via the Trainline app, you can save them to your Apple Wallet on an iOS device. This has the added advantage of being able to access then from the lock screen without needing to unlock the phone and open the relevant app.
 

najaB

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But you don't. You can download to Acrobat or the GWR style app at any time, same as an M-ticket.
That only works if you know when you plan to use the ticket in advance. E-tickets represent state at a fixed point in time, m-tickets allow modification of state after that point. The implementations have been pretty crappy, I'll give you, but it's a useful difference.
I think that's overcomplicated and unnecessary.
What's complicated? A button that records date and time? That's *really* not that hard to implement.
It also isn't a reason in support of M-tickets, because the M-ticket implementation does not include it.
None has used it to date, but that doesn't mean that it can't be done.
 

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