London: Major stations are having the infrastructure for smart ticketing installed, with nine in 10 journeys “soon” available in this format, RDG, which represents rail firms, said.
Smart tickets can be bought online and stored on smartphones or smartcards.
The process has required a rollout of new technology across the network, with recent upgrades at Waterloo, Edinburgh Waverley and Gatwick Airport stations.
This will be followed by new readers and computer software at Blackfriars, Watford Junction, City Thameslink, London Bridge, East Croydon and Shenfield.
Robert Nisbet, regional director at the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Together, rail companies are going full steam ahead with smart ticketing, with passengers increasingly able to use their phones or smartcards thanks to station upgrades across the network.
“Of course, we want to go further, but realising the full benefits of new ticketing technology requires regulatory reform of the wider fares system. That’s why train companies are working with government to update the rules that underpin our rail fares.”
Paper equating to the distance from London to Edinburgh and back was saved in the first two months of 2019 thanks to paperless tickets
Which? managing director of public markets Alex Hayman said: “This long overdue rollout of smart ticketing across the rail network is a positive step towards making journeys simpler and improving passengers’ experience.
“Last year train companies failed to resolve a quarter of a million compensation claims on time and too many people miss out on getting back the compensation they are owed for delays and cancellations.”
He said plans to link smart ticketing to one-click compensation did not “go far enough”.
The Labour Party also has doubts that the ambitions for smart ticketing can be achieved.
“There are more than 50 million different types of train ticket across the railway and smart tickets will do little to solve that confusion,” said Labour’s shadow rail minister Rachael Maskell.
“The government and industry are deluding themselves if they think they are anywhere near meeting their own targets for ‘smart ticketing'”.