M-Tickets Could Spell The End For Paper Train Tickets

Using paper tickets to travel by train in the UK could soon be a thing of the past if new ticketing regulations from Britain’s rail industry are approved.

Customers could soon be able to journey anywhere in the country using a downloadable ‘m-ticket’ onto a smartphone or tablet, which feature a barcode that can then be scanned to authorise travel.

Up until now, tickets have only worked with one specific train operator, but following a number of successful trials of the technology, which have seen over 40,000 m-tickets purchased, a nationwide rollout will now be discussed at the conference of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) which represents all UK train operators and Network Rail.


“We have a vision of fully digital, mobile-friendly train travel with smarter types of quick and easy electronic tickets which are convenient, personalised and can be used on different providers’ services,” said the RDG’s Jacqueline Starr.

“Many train operators already offer options like tickets on mobile phones and travel using smart or contactless cards. The rail industry is developing technology to make buying and using train tickets simpler so that people no longer have to rely on the old orange paper type, instead using technology and products that they are familiar with such as smartcards or barcode readers.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution and we’ll continue to cater for everyone.”

If approved, the system will be rolled out across the next three years, but there is no indication of what customers without mobile devices, such as the elderly, would do if caught without tickets.

The service is the latest step forward in modernising travel around Britain following proposals for a nationwide contactless system similar to that of London’s Oyster card.

The plans aim to introduce contactless payments on buses and trains all over the country now has government support and is the brainchild of the UK Cards Association (UKCA), which could see buses and trains kitted out with the new technology within the next year.

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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