Mobile Engagement

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said he “can’t understand the slow progress” in introducing smart ticketing across the rail network.

He claimed everyone commuting into major towns and cities should be able to use mobile phones, contactless credit and debit cards or smart cards to pay for their travel.

Mr Grayling urged the Department for Transport and the rail industry to “make rapid progress” on the issue.

In a speech to the Policy Exchange think tank in London, he said: “In a world where I can even buy my lunch in the House of Commons tea room with my mobile phone, I should not have to queue for a paper ticket at the station in the morning.

“I have mandated my department and the industry to make rapid progress introducing smart ticketing across the network. The ingredients are there to deliver something much better – and we want to see these key reforms happen quickly.

“I can’t understand the slow progress.”

Mr Grayling told the audience that he wants to see more pay-as-you-go options for rail travel, such as those available via Oyster cards in London.

That would mean no need to purchase tickets in advance.

He said Southern would be the first operator to “do this properly” with its KeyGo smartcard in 2017 and called on other train companies to follow.

The minister has established a dedicated team in the DfT to roll out smart ticketing and will chair the first Smart Ticketing Delivery Board with the rail industry, watchdog Transport Focus and regional transport bodies in the new year.

He said longer-distance travellers should be able to use barcodes from tickets bought online to travel around the country without a paper ticket.

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