Government proposes big expansion of smart ticketing for trains

Written by Sam Trendall on 8 February 2019 in News
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DfT launches consultation on plans to create a seamless pay-as-you-go area encompassing much of south-east England

Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Archive/PA Images

The government has launched a consultation on its proposals to expand the use of smart ticketing to include large parts of south-east England’s rail network.

Contactless and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) payment is currently available across the capital’s Transport for London network of trains, buses, trams, and riverboats. Over the coming weeks, the technology will be deployed across 13 national rail stations in the south east, including Reading, Maidenhead, Luton Airport Parkway, and Epsom.

The government is proposing that this rollout should be expanded much more widely in the area surrounding London – extending as far north as Luton, east to Shoeburyness, south to Dorking, and west to Reading. A consultation paper published by the Department for Transport outlines that the government believes the south-east PAYG travel area could ultimately spread even further in all directions, to include towns and cities such as Peterborough, Cambridge, Ipswich, Dover, Brighton, Salisbury, Oxford, and Milton Keynes.


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“There is the potential for a joined-up PAYG travel area that focuses on travel to, from and around London by rail,” the paper said. “Inside this area, passengers would be able to travel seamlessly between all rail services in the area and on the TfL network, all using the same PAYG scheme.”

It added: “In developing this scope in the south-east, we have thought about where PAYG travel would be most beneficial. The demand from the station, local transport links and distance from London may be important factors in working out whether a station in the south-east should be included within this geographical focus.”

The consultation on the proposals runs until 1 May. The government wants to hear from local authorities and transport agencies, as well as individual commuters. Areas in which feedback is being sought include the scope and operation of the PAYG area, as well as ticketing systems and fares.

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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