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More rail passengers can go paperless by end of month

Nine out of 10 tickets will be available on mobiles or smart cards following a software roll out, the Rail Delivery Group said.

The Key smartcard can be used at most stations on the Govia Thameslink Railway network (Govia Thameslink Railway/PA)
The Key smartcard can be used at most stations on the Govia Thameslink Railway network (Govia Thameslink Railway/PA)

Thousands more rail passengers in Britain will soon be able to switch to cashless travel as new technology is rolled out, an industry body has announced.

Software updates being introduced this month will enable nine out of 10 tickets to be stored on mobiles or smart cards, according to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

Smart ticketing is available at almost all mainline stations across the country, with ticket barriers and readers improved and installed at 890 stations to recognise smart tickets.

Upgrades have taken place at some of the busiest stations since October 2018, including London Waterloo, Gatwick Airport, Brighton, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central.

Among the stations next in line for the technology are London Bridge, Watford Junction, East Croydon, Shenfield, Edinburgh Gateway and Glasgow Argyle Street.

Every train operator in Britain now offers smart ticketing, with 14.1 million journeys paid for in this way during the first eight weeks of the year.

In its submission to the Government-commissioned Rail Review, the RDG proposed that regulations should be updated to enable pay as you go price caps to be introduced across the country, and a better range of prices made available to passengers buying long-distance tickets on the day of travel.

RDG regional director Robert Nisbet said “Together, rail companies are going full steam ahead with smart ticketing, with passengers increasingly able to use their phones or smartcards thanks to station upgrades across the network.

“Of course, we want to go further, but realising the full benefits of new ticketing technology requires regulatory reform of the wider fares system. That’s why train companies are working with Government to update the rules that underpin our rail fares.”

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