Was the ITSO system ever meant to be rolled out across the entire network?

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Roast Veg, 30 Dec 2019.

  1. py_megapixel

    py_megapixel Member

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    If you've been to London at all over the past few years, you'll have seen the "Watch out for card clash when using Contactless and Oyster" posters. This is nothing new, nor is it unique to ITSO. I don't suspect that a person taking diner's cards for payment in a restaurant would know which to use if handed several at once!
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    I think one of the biggest flaws of the standard is that the cards contain information about their issuer, allowing tickets to be restricted to certain cards. If I could carry just one ITSO card around, that might convince me to use it for all modes of transport, but the inability to issue some tickets on some cards really puts me off.
     
  2. nidave

    nidave Member

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    TfL broadcast messages all the time when they started to take contactless cards to avoid card clash - this is not a Manchester issue - the devices have rfid tags and its a rfid reader.
    You also have to remember to use the same card to touch in and touch out - you cant go from your phone to touch in then touch out on the card as they have 2 different numbers (despite being the same account and you use the card to create the account on the phone) Again, not unique to Manchester.
     
  3. jagardner1984

    jagardner1984 Member

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    It’s a similar logic to just holding your wallet up to a card reader in a restaurant and then complaining when “they” charge the wrong card.

    I’d argue another reason to put your travel product on your debit card (in whatever way). Less RFID confusion.
     
  4. OxtedSignaller

    OxtedSignaller Member

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    There is a lot of work to be done and to be fair why not simply have a standard design across the country so if the time comes you can use the smartcards anywhere in the country people are aware of this. Because if you were not very knowledgeable you would presume you cannot use a Southeastern key on EMR for example. Also I believe every season ticket should be issued on a Smartcard or instead you could discount the cost of a Smartcard ticket to encourage people to use them which is what a lot of bus companies do and it works.
     
  5. gladiac

    gladiac New Member

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    There is a way around that advance purchase restriction for their Super Off-Peak tickets, whilst you can only select train times 4+ hours into the future the ticket is still valid on earlier trains (from 1100 on I think) on that date. Combined with the ScotRail app on an Android+NFC phone you can buy and load a ticket onto your Smartcard within 5-10 minutes.
     
  6. transmanche

    transmanche Established Member

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    Precisely. One example of this is Newcastle University students, who can load a Metrosaver onto their (ITSO-compatible) university ID card - so they don't need to acquire a separate Pop smartcard from Nexus.

    West Midlands Metro passengers can load an ITSO-enabled ticket onto their mobile phones, using NFC rather than a barcode.

    Northern Rail passengers can already do just this for season tickets bought via their app - transferring the ticket via NFC to their Northern smartcard.

    Cardboard ITSO cards are available too - they're used on the Glasgow Subway (similar cards are used in the Netherlands). So all single/return and similar tickets could be ITSO enabled - even for people who don't have a smartcard or NFC-equipped phone - and we could replace magnetic stripe tickets completely.

    In fact, Scotland seems to be leading the way here. The smarttravel.scot scheme means that you can use any Scottish operator's ITSO card to hold any Scottish operator's tickets. If you want to load Subway tickets on a (Scottish-issued) Stagecoach Smart card? No problem.
     
  7. si404

    si404 Member

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    That being the Oyster that's run out of zones, and whose backend systems need a major overhaul (OK, they've done some to get Contactless-only to Reading, WGC and Luton Airport) with some, if not all, the cards replaced?

    The underlying zonal and/or flat fare system is not going to work nationwide. It will struggle (even giving TOCs their own fare scales for outside London and/or special routes, and having no capping beyond Z9 to avoid those issues) to do rail in the Home Counties. Especially when it comes to stuff like the North Downs and Medway Valley lines that orbit London.
     
  8. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    The Contactless card system is seperate and has far fewer of the limitations of oyster hence contactless to Reading and not Oyster. Plenty more capacity in the contactless backend system for expansion, it can quite happily deal with more TOC point to point fares if expanded. The contactless sytem is already far cheaper to run that Oyster per transaction.
     
  9. KingJ

    KingJ Member

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    This also works for peak tickets - even though an Off-Peak ticket is selected, you are of course able to buy a Peak ticket. Sensibly of course, it's not the top/default option for anyone who really intended to travel on that later service and would be better served by an Off-Peak ticket!

    I use this method regularly now with Southeastern's app to buy daily tickets and load them on to my Key card. It does save me a queue at the ticket machine, but I do wish the app would allow me to buy a 'common' journey with just a few taps - i.e. without the need to go through and select arbitrary services to travel on.

    Of relevance to this thread, although I use an ITSO card for all my travel where possible I do experience periodic issues when interfacing with other operators, e.g. as I posted here a short while ago.
     
  10. si404

    si404 Member

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    In other words, your OP would have been better if it didn't mention Oyster.
     
  11. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    yes though many are still remarkable unaware of what the contactless back office can do and why I listed it first in the OP.
     
  12. duffield

    duffield Member

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    In relation to reading the wrong card accidentally, for a few pennies (literally) you can get foil/cardboard inserts for your wallet card slots which prevent the wrong card being read by mistake, e.g. you have your contactless card in an 'insert slot' and your Oyster in a normal slot, and it's totally impossible to read the wrong card (and these inserts do work, I've done tests).
     
  13. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    How would you make such a journey now?
     
  14. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    I normally go to the station, touch the screen a couple of times, stick in my credit card and get a few bits of card back, or I get on the train and the nice person asks me a few questions, i give them my card and they print me a short length of paper.

    Or I might, if going that way, wander iin and speak to Gareth at newtown Station Travel and get some bits of card from him.

    Quick, simple and easy!
     
  15. matt_world2004

    matt_world2004 Established Member

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    You buy a paper ticket as normal?
     
  16. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Fine, but the proposal being made by many here is for ALL ticketing to be on wasteful bits of plastic, and frankly that is not possible or practicable.
     
  17. jagardner1984

    jagardner1984 Member

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    With relation to interoperability. It’s possible to put some subway season tickets on an unregistered over the counter smartcard. Others you have to put on a registered (take a photo online) smartcard. Some products you can put on a Scotrail smartcard. Others you need a seperate registered subway smartcard. I check in with my Scotrail smartcard at Cessnock and whilst waiting I think, I’ll buy my ticket now for my train through to Edinburgh to save the queue at Queen Street. Ah, sorry, you need to do that 4 hours before hand to allow the Scotrail website hamster to carry your order over to the smart card machine. I go to the large ticket machine queue and one of Scotrail’s ticket staff is serving tickets to get through the queue. Ah sorry you need to go to that other kind of machine to load onto your card, I can sell you the ticket but you’ll need to carry paper tickets instead.

    Integrated isn’t the first word I’d use for any of the above. It isn’t hard to see why in the face of their 60% (by smart ticket) target, they achieved an enormous 8.4%.
     
  18. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    Ignoring Pay As You Go (PAYG) schemes in local areas, smartcards are only useful for regular passengers to obtain Season ticket or similar products (e.g. carnets)

    Irregular passengers or passengers who travel regularly but on different routes, have absolutely no need for a smart card, or paper tickets, once everything is available as an e-ticket. Many flows are already e-ticket enabled and this expansion looks set to continue.
     
    Last edited: 31 Dec 2019
  19. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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    The machine prints you a card with the details on, containing a chip.

    At the end of your journey you can choose to return the piece of plastic to get your deposit back.
    The writing is scrubbed off by a machine and the card can be reused.

    There are machines that allow monochrome printing for 500 cycles using thermal printing methods.

    EDIT:

    Then there are things like MIFARE Ultralight Nano, which is an ultra lightweight chip which can be inserted into paper cards for single use tickets.
    These paper tickets are available from Alibaba at price of a few pence each.
     
    Last edited: 31 Dec 2019
  20. bubieyehyeh

    bubieyehyeh Member

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    While I agree there are situations where this doesn't work with smart tickets.

    I regularly buy weekly season tickets, and maybe once in that week need to travel outside the limits of the season. With paper I just buy a ticket between border of the season validity and my one-off destination.

    I don't think you can buy the additional ticket on a smartcard and have it work, so you need to disimbark the train at the switch point, leave and re-enter the station, extending your journey time. It is possible I believe on the Southern Key if you have their PAYG (keygo) and the season on your key. However keygo doesn't allow you to use a railcard, so its more expensive than paper for me.

    Southern did used to allow you to buy daily key tickets (inc railcard discounted ones) online, but removed the feature rather unhelpfully, but to be honest it wasn't that useful, since you still had to get off the train, when split ticketing. It also had some major limitations even though the key can store 5 tickets, you couldn't buy a 2nd ticket until you had collected the previously order one.

    Also Keygo has a limitation on the maxiumum duration of a break of journey which is a few hours from memory.
     
  21. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    And what is this card supposed to cover?
    For example my route could have at least 5 different routes, with several different operators.

    Err?? What deposit?
    That is something you haven't mentioned before. Where has this "deposit" come from? How and where is it paid?

    Now you've lost me. What writing?

    Don't see the relevance of this, but I'm sure it means something.

    Now you've completley lost me!
    If you wish to use jargon could you please explain it?
     
  22. Llanigraham

    Llanigraham On Moderation

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    Exactly, and I really cannot understand why people here cannot see that.
     
  23. 47444

    47444 Member

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    I believe that Contactless has two key limitations.
    • The first has already been mentioned. When used for Pay As You Go, the banks only guarantee payment up to a certain amount (I think it is currently £30). So if someone travelled from, say, Grove Park to, say, East Didsbury with insufficient funds in their account for the, let's say, £180 fare, the railway only gets £30 in revenue. The railway would then have to seek the cooperation of the banks to ascertain the identity of the cardholder to try to retrieve the balance.
    • The second is that it is difficult to allow the use of Contactless to identify users who qualify for discounts of one kind or another - in particular children and railcard users. This is because the railway cannot identify who is using the Contactless card/phone. ITSO smartcards can carry user details and have photos embossed on them. Sure, a Contactless account can be identified with a child or railcard holder, but the railway doesn't know who is actually using it. I could borrow my Granny's contactless card and get senior railcard prices. So most contactless systems only offer these for adult users.
     
  24. jagardner1984

    jagardner1984 Member

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    Surely the first point is covered by ticket barriers / staff in exactly the same way as if I enter through a ticket barrier with a ticket to the next station but stay on the train 200 miles to a station without staff or barriers ?

    And whilst the second point is valid, it’s merely a way of storing a number on a card / mobile phone. So for example the entire system of railcards could be linked to it (user links contactless card to their railcard, so photo/expiry details are visible to on train staff when they scan the card. I assume child ticketing would operate in the same way as now, a different card which beeps to alert gate line staff of a child user, and that ticket stored on a prepaid visa of some kind, or on their mobile phone. Smart ticketing won’t solve all problems, but it would solve a lot.
     
  25. Pakenhamtrain

    Pakenhamtrain Member

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    You mean like Opal in Sydney does:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opal_card#/media/File:Sydney_Opal_Card_(single_trip),_2016.jpg
     
  26. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    (1) can be mitigated, even if not solved. If a card is refused - either frequently for small amounts, or once or twice for large amounts - it's blacklisted. This won't stop the passenger from simply getting another card out of their pocket, but it at least inconveniences them.
    (2) People using discount tickets that they're not entitled to is a problem with the current system. So the question we need to ask is how much worse (on balance) a contactless system would make things. The downside is that - as spelt out - it would be hard to identify an abused ticket on the fly because the information isn't to hand. But there's some upside in that it would be a lot more difficult to 'accidentally' (or accidentally) travel on an invalid ticket (say an off-peak ticket during the peak period) so that source of leakage would go. Would this be enough to balance out increased use of grandma's Railcard? I don't know.
     
  27. HSTEd

    HSTEd Established Member

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  28. coppercapped

    coppercapped Established Member

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    You obviously haven't understood the way that Oyster works.

    You need sufficient credit on the card to pay for the most expensive journey you can make and this amount is debited to the card. On 'touching out' the cost for that particular journey (distance - zones and routing - and time of day) is calculated and the difference is refunded to the card.

    This works for a limited geographic area where the maximum possible fare is not too great (£20 or £30) for people to add that amount as credit to the card. The model does not work if several hundred pounds has to be added to the card before one starts a journey even if much of it is refunded at the end.
     
  29. 47444

    47444 Member

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    Barriers don't help, because when a contactless card is tapped on a barrier the barrier simply checks that it is a valid card. It cannot check the balance on the account behind the card as this information is not held on the card. Similarly, at an "on train" ticket check, all the checker can record is the use of the contactless card at that location and point in time.

    Payment is collected overnight by working out the correct fare based on the card taps. That is when a shortfall in the account becomes apparent
     
  30. haggishunter

    haggishunter Member

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    This runs into a problem though with evening super off peak tickets because for some routes / services theres not enough hours left of such services in the current day to buy in advance. This could be changed in the App fairly quickly surely since both the andriod and iOS apps can write / read the smartcards.

    I quite often travel from Tyndrum to/from Glasgow - the smartcards can't load tickets that are to / from Tyndrum whether upper or lower. Had a discussion with a couple of ticket offices about why this doesn't work and it has always been this way and it seems the problem is the smart card must be point to point and the actual ticket would be 'Glasgow Terminuses' to 'Tyndrum Stations'.
     

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