Reports say that the UK government is pushing for smarter mobile fare payments. It is currently consulting with train operators on smart pay-as-you-go ticketing. The goal? To provide the ability for consumers to travel across the UK’s entire railway network by tapping in and out with contactless cards or smartphones – no more paper tickets.
While great in theory, the nationwide deployment of this service will, of course, be a massive undertaking. It will require the UK’s multiple transit companies to all agree on business models, standards and distribution. They would also need to decide and agree on whether to implement smart ticketing based on (1) open-loop payment cards or (2) dedicated transit smart cards.
Until now, consumers have had to pay for fixed fares. The biggest benefit of moving to smart mobile fare payments is that consumers will be able to pay for their actual journeys. The Department for Transport explains that smart ticketing will ensure a fairer, simple travel fare system. This change could actually lead to an increase in train travel since consumers will save money by automatically calculating fares on the go.
Another benefit is that moving to pay-as-you-go ticketing follows the changing nature of UK travel. Most people are no longer daily commuters. As of now, return and weekly tickets are priced on the assumption that most people are.
The Consultation Begins
Contactless payment cards are actually already used to buy paper tickets across the rail network. If the proposed changes are made, the new model would enable travelers to use contactless cards as tickets. In February 2019, a three-month consultation was launched by the Department of Transport. The consultation has three aims:
- To determine how a pay-as-you-go rail network would work,
- Where pay-as-you-go travel in the South-East of England would cover,
- And what changes could be made to the fares?
Grant Klein, PwC UK’s transport leader explains that smart ticketing is about so much more than just eliminating paper tickets. “The way to incentivize smart ticketing is if there is a cost-saving — making a smart season ticket cheaper or committing to the lowest fare,” he says.
“Our survey of travelers in the Midlands and North of England showed they would make between 1.1 and 1.4 more public transport journeys a week if there were one or more features of smart ticketing.”
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Author Bio: Payment industry expert Taylor Cole is a passionate merchant account expert who understands the complicated world of accepting credit and debit cards at your business. His understanding of the industry and rms retail merchant services has helped thousands of business owners save money and time.