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Smart ticketing expanded to thousands of UK rail passengers

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Smart ticketing has been expanded across the UK’s rail network with passengers able to access services without paper tickets.

For the first time all passengers travelling through many major stations across Britain - including Waterloo, Brighton, Gatwick Airport, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central - will be able to go paperless,

Software updates are being rolled out this month that will enable nine out of 10 tickets to be stored on mobiles or smart cards, according to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG). It said the benefits of smart tickets include the ability to skip station queues, they are more environmentally friendly and applying for compensation for delays is easier.

The rail industry is also working with government to progress its proposed reforms to the fares system.

Upgrades have been taking place at some of the busiest stations since October 2018, while the next stations in line for the technology are London Bridge, Watford Junction, East Croydon, Shenfield, Edinburgh Gateway and Glasgow Argyle Street.

Every train operator in Britain now offers smart ticketing, with 14.1 million journeys paid for in this way during the first eight weeks of the year.

In its submission to the Government-commissioned Rail Review, the RDG proposed that regulations should be updated to enable pay as you go price caps to be introduced across the country, and a better range of prices made available to passengers buying long-distance tickets on the day of travel.

RDG regional director Robert Nisbet 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.”

In February the Government was urged to invest £4.8bn in expanding Britain’s railways to “the most disadvantaged and disconnected communities”. 

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