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2019-10-11 DfT-001
Department for Transport


Maximising investment in the smart ticketing on National Rail Programme

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smart ticketing

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Department for Transport

Maximising investment in the smart ticketing on National Rail Programme

11 October 2019
source Department for Transport
type Letter

note Published 14 October 2019

From the Minister of State
Chris Heaton-Harris MP
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
Tel: xxxxxxxxxxxx
Web site:

11 October 2019

Dear Colleague,

Maximising Investment in the Smart Ticketing on National Rail Programme

As Rail Minister I am committed to ensuring that industry maximises the impact of recent advances in technology and innovation, particularly where they improve the customer experience. I have been encouraged that industry and government worked so collaboratively to implement the Smart Ticketing on National Rail programme at the end of 2018. I see this as a real step change for passengers, making ticketing more accessible and straightforward, and bringing the industry fully into the 21st Century, alongside other infrastructure improvements.

TfL’s Oyster and Contactless systems set the standard for customer proposition and they are widely used where they are available. Now that smart ticketing is accepted at almost all stations across the network, I want to see the industry achieve the same level of customer proposition and hence the same high levels of take-up.

To do that we need to make it easy for passengers to buy barcode and smart tickets online. As you launch ‘Smart Week’ in October, I want to encourage and urge you to prioritise moving your customers to smart ticketing wherever possible. I am keen that the £80m investment by government is maximised, and the taxpayer gets full value for money from the infrastructure and interoperability we can now see from the programme.

My view is also that a more concerted effort to move to smart by default is needed across the whole industry. I therefore would be keen to hear your plans as to how you could move to retailing smart tickets by default by January 2020. I am also keen that train companies are taking every step to ensure that smart tickets are enabled for sale wherever the infrastructure exists, and to ensure the buying process for smart tickets is as simple and user friendly as it can be. I would like to understand the steps you are taking to ensure that this is the case, and how you will measure customer satisfaction with smart icketing buying processes in a consistent way. I would like to receive a summary of your plans to achieve this by 15 November. Please reply to me outlining the work you already have underway to increase take up and what further steps you are planning.

By sending this letter I am not asking you to withdraw paper tickets, but I do want to encourage people to use smart tickets, which will naturally lead to fewer paper tickets being sold. This means that passengers who cannot access bank cards or mobile phones may continue to use paper tickets.

I know you share my commitment to reforming the ticketing landscape in rail, giving our passengers the retail experience they expect in 2020 and beyond. I look forward to hearing your plans.

Yours sincerely,
Chris Heaton-Harris MP
Minister of State for Transport

Railhub Archive ::: 2019-10-11 DfT-001


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