Smart card use to grow on UK rail

UK travellers could be using smart cards to travel by rail and check-in and pay for their hotels within the next few years.

TheTrainline believes applications such as these for business travellers will initially drive the use of smart technology.

Business development director Jeremy Acklam said: “One of the big advantages for business travellers is when you move into multiple applications. You can put more than one thing on the chip but it will recognise whatever application you are using.”

The rail specialist has just unveiled its Trainline Smart system enabling travellers to purchase a ticket online or via mobile phone and download it onto a smart card.

The company hopes to pilot Trainline Smart later this year in preparation for early 2009 when the first of five rail companies, mandated by government to implement smart ticketing within two years, is expected to launch the technology.

TheTrainline is also involved in a project to get smart card rail ticketing implemented across London by the 2012 Olympics.

Acklam said he was lobbying the Government to address the situation by 2012 or travellers would experience a ‘patchwork’ of solutions.

TheTrainline is anticipating more than 50% of its ticketing will be via Smart in the next four years.

The company is also looking at the development of the smart technology for mobile phones and is monitoring several projects using near field communication or smart phones for contactless payment.

Acklam said: “The majority of people won’t want to do that initially and will be reticent about using their phone in that way in public. It remains for hard and fast business solutions to be there to drive the volume.”

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