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Paper train tickets to be a thing of the past

Train tickets | Smarter Travel Ltd

The Transport Secretary says paper train tickets should be phased out in favour of smartcards which will save commuters both time and money.

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling has demanded the rail industry makes urgent progress on introducing smart ticketing.

UK’s train operators have been talking about the introduction of paperless tickets for years, but most passengers have seen little progress.

Mr Grayling said: “In a world where I can even buy my lunch in the House of Commons tea room with my mobile phone, I should not have to queue for a paper ticket at the station in the morning.

“I have mandated my department and the industry to make rapid progress introducing smart ticketing across the network. The ingredients are there to deliver something much better – and we want to see these key reforms happen quickly. I can’t understand the slow progress.”

Mr Grayling made the announcement on the same day that he revealed plans to strip Network Rail of its complete control of Britain’s rail tracks.

The organisation will, instead, have to share control with train operators. Unions have questioned whether the move would compromise safety.

By moving his focus on to the ease of buying tickets, Mr Grayling says he is trying to put passengers first. He indicated that he would like to see the success of London’s contactless Oyster card system replicated across the country.

The capital introduced the smart card payment system in 2003 for use on bus and Tube journeys. It can be used both for pay-as-you-go journeys as well as storing season ticket information for regular travellers.

Contactless debit and credit cards and mobile phones are also now accepted as forms of payment across the capital.

Mr Grayling suggested that Southern would be the first operator to introduce smart payments properly with its KeyGo system expected to go live in 2017.

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