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

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by najaB, 29 Jun 2019.

  1. Saperstein

    Saperstein Member

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    It’s true.
     
  2. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    "Opinion" is not a synonym for "fact".
     
  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    How does it do that? Buy it, download it, use it whenever you like within its validity. Exactly the same as getting a bit of orange card and shoving it in your wallet.

    But it creates the possibility of TIL or similar pursuing someone who forgot to press it. I am not required to tell anyone I wish to BoJ now. Why do you wish to restrict that for no good reason with a completely unnecessary step?

    You could do it with an e-ticket too.
     
  4. kieron

    kieron Established Member

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    Smartcards are awful. You can't activate a ticket as your train zooms through the starting station or anything.

    It does seem like we've got quite a few different types of ticket which can sort-of do most of the things each other type can do. I'm sure we will lose one or two of them eventually.
     
  5. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Carnets would probably work better with an online account of some sort. When you want to use one, download an e-ticket of it and the counter decrements by one.
     
  6. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    Smart cards are indeed awful in that respect. There have been times when I had a Guildford to London Zone 2 to 6 travel card and wished to go to Waterloo in the morning peak. Did I really want to board a stopping service to Capham Junction or Vauxhall, just so I can tape out and in to reach zone 1?

    No I bought a paper ticket and if avilable at the time might have even brought an e-ticket.
     
  7. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    How many tickets types don't have a 'Valid from' date on them?
    I find it interesting that you're a fan of compostage, but not of the electronic equivalent.
    E-tickets represent the fixed state of the system when they are issued. They don't allow modification of state.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Eh? M-tickets have a "valid from" date on them too. You purchase them, just like every other type of ticket, using a journey planner.

    Are you thinking of carnets or bus tickets?

    That isn't quite compostage. Compostage is simply stamping a ticket at the start of the journey to ensure it cannot be reused. It has nothing to do with break of journey. Under none of the compostage systems in use in Europe do you restamp in the event of breaking your journey (where permitted).

    Activating an m-ticket is I suppose a bit like compostage.

    This is completely false. E-tickets represent a reference to a record in a database. That record can have its state changed (such as changing an Advance ticket to another train, though this is done by invalidating the old e-ticket and producing a new one, same with an m-ticket); examples are outlined in various posts on this thread.

    Indeed, I think you've got this one completely backwards. An m-ticket can't have its state changed after download, whereas because an e-ticket is simply a reference to a record in a database it can.
     
  9. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Smartcards should be able to cope with that. If the current system doesn't permit that, then that's a problem with the way smartcards are implemented, not with the concept of smartcards per se. It should be able to charge you the appropriate extension. Theoretically, you could even have a system which will charge you a reduced rate if you use the same route 10 times or more per month or per quarter, meaning you get carnet style savings without having to commit in advance.
     
  10. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    Regarding m and e tickets, whenever I have used either the GWR website or Virgin West Coast website, I have never been offered either of those options on the Delivery Options page.

    This is for both Advance and flexible tickets such as Highbury & Islington - Cradley Heath, Cradley Heath - Crewe, Crewe - Barnhill or Springburn, Preston - Barnhill or Springburn. Are the e and m tickets options excluded if it involves connecting services with another Train Operating Company?
     
  11. RLBH

    RLBH Member

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    Thank you! None of this waffle about ticket types was making the slightest bit of sense to me without the context.

    It does seem like there are a lot of systems out there that have been 75% developed before the project sponsors got bored and decided to specify something new.
     
  12. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    This, to my mind at least, definitely applies to m-tickets. They could have been a useful counterpart to smartcards inasmuch as as they both serve the same role (locally managed state) as opposed to e-tickets (centrally stored state) but most implementations were poor.
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I think as mobile coverage improves the benefits of locally managed state trend to zero, which couples to the fact that having two "gold standard" representations of state rather than just one has significant disadvantages.

    You might need special arrangements for the Far North Line and the WHL, but most railway lines are not the Far North Line nor the WHL.
     
  14. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    Well, it does and it doesn't. If there was a single database used for all ticketing then maybe so, but we still have situations where one TOC can issue tickets that another TOC can't see. Not to mention that within a TOC there exists the situation that Web/Telesales tickets can't be managed by station staff...
     
  15. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, those two things need to be solved. They are not however a reason to retain m-tickets, which are a very poor solution to almost every problem they purport to solve.

    Clearly those things are easier to solve if the state of all tickets on the railway (whatever form they happen to be shown in) is represented in one single place.
     
  16. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    Not all flows are enabled for barcode tickets, for various reasons. The journey from Highbury & Islington would be because barcode tickets cannot be used on London Underground services and are not issue for (most) journeys in the London fares area. For others it may be that the fare setting TOCs had not set the flows to allow barcode tickets, but the numbers are increasing quite a lot now.
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I suspect LU will catch up on that one, as barcode readers (particularly ones using a camera and LED light rather than a laser) are "solid state" and far easier to maintain than magstripe readers. It would slow down passing through the gate, but passengers transferring between termini on a through ticket (or similar) are in the minority when compared with season ticket holders using smartcards (in the long term) and everyone else using Oyster or contactless.

    OK, there are outboundary Travelcards, but those too could move to smartcards if need be.
     
  18. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    No chance of that happening at their own expense, so very little chance of it happening at all.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I reckon it will when they see how much it reduces costs, both in terms of maintenance and in terms of the purchase of new barrier units.
     
  20. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    You obviously haven't been sitting in the Smart Ticketing meetings for the last couple of years.
     
  21. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    I remember when m tickets were hailed as "the future" and would solve all ticketing issues. However, others stated that ITSO smartcards were "the future" and they would solve all ticketing issues. The latest solution to all ticketing issues would appear to be e ickets. I wonder what the next solution might be. Meanwhile, paper tickets continue to work fine for me.
     
  22. takno

    takno Established Member

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    Oh, not the tangerine nightmare. Apparently physical tickets make absolutely everybody incredibly angry, and nobody will be happy until their phone can lose their ticket for them. They did some market research and it said so, or something -difficult to remember because there was wine in the meeting and nobody took notes
     
  23. maniacmartin

    maniacmartin Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    To me, mtickets seemed like thre industry’s stop-gap solution at a time when they didn’t have the technology in place - poor phone signal and no technology in place to check barcodes. Ticket gates did not have barcode scanners and Avantix was still the prominent on board retail device, which couldn’t easily be upgraded to deal with e-tickets.

    However, the rollout of mtickets was fragmented and confusing. Now that the industry has more infrastructure in place, Avantix is rapidly being replaced with new devices, and different TOCs have finally started to work together, I think we’ll eventually see the back of mtickets. I won’t be sad to see them go - people who want everything on their phone can still do so but passengers can still print them if they choose.
     
  24. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    My metrocard seems to open the barriers at Leeds a lot easier than the assorted bits of scrappy paper and electronic junk people try to wave at them. (I should know because I'm stuck behind them half the time).
     
  25. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    This was/is the problem more than anything. As a concept, m-tickets are akin to smartcards - a way to store information locally which can be interrogated and updated in a secure manner - but the implementations leave a lot to be desired. Are they the best solution out there? No. Are they the spawn of satan as some make them out to be? Not so sure.
     
  26. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    That depends on the implementation. I can happily scan my West Yorkshire MCard and see Day bus tickets on it, activated or not and Weekly or Monthly train and bus or bus only tickets with a start date in the future (the app is a bit crap as it'll show unactivated day tickets before a ticket due to start tomorrow). I can even buy tickets on my phone and transfer them directly to the card. The only annoyance is they don't do a Day train and bus or Day train ticket in electronic form. Again, that problem is implementation, not tech.

    MCard, surely? It does now, but there were a couple of years of them being crap and having to be manually let through (and your record card checked). Again, down to implementation, as they released the cards before the various barriers (and staff) could check them.
     
  27. yorksrob

    yorksrob Veteran Member

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    I assumed that was more to do with the barriers being a bit ropey !
     
  28. kieron

    kieron Established Member

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    To me, that just adds a data connection to a remote database to the list of things which could go wrong to stop you from using the ticket you'd already bought. Passengers and staff would cope, but it doesn't really sound better to me.

    "Valid from" date? If you're asking for tickets where you do not have to decide exactly when they are valid at point of sale, there are carnets (as mentioned), and a number of X-in-Y day rovers. I can't think of a rover which is available as an m-ticket, though.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of things smartcards should be able to cope with, but don't do. I don't know if this is due to the abilities of smartcards themselves, or the structure of the railway, but it seems quite persistent.
     
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Better to me than using m-tickets for it (or getting prosecuted for misuse of a biro). Smartcards are probably better for carnets.
     
  30. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    That is exactly what I was thinking of. E-tickets don't (essily) let you buy a bunch of tickets and keep them for a rainy day. You can keep them in your online account, but you can pretty much guarantee that the day you need to use one is the day you don't have a data connection.
     

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