Smart ticketing introduced on Southeastern network
28 July 2015 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review
The Department for Transport has announced a £5.5 million plan to introduce smart ticketing across the Southeastern rail network.
Rail passengers in Kent and parts of East Sussex will soon benefit from the introduction of smart cards replacing traditional paper tickets. The cards will initially replace season tickets from December 2016.
Southeastern is the latest UK operator to sign up to the £80 million government-funded South East Flexible Ticketing (SEFT) programme. Work will now begin to upgrade Southeastern’s ticketing systems and equipment to allow passengers to use smart cards to travel across the majority of the network.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “As part of our long-term economic plan we are bringing our railways into the 21st century. We are making the biggest investment in rail since the Victorian era while taking advantage of technology like smart cards.
“Smart ticketing is a common sense innovation that makes life easier for passengers. It allows for more straight forward journeys and I’m delighted Southeastern will be rolling them out across much of their network.”
The SEFT programme aims to create seamless travel between different train companies and regions. It also offers the future potential for more flexible ticketing products that could not work on paper-based tickets. When SEFT is complete, 250,000 season ticket holders across the south east will be able to swap paper tickets for smart tickets, accounting for 202 million journeys per year.
The introduction of smart ticketing will allow Southeastern passengers to benefit from online ticket purchase, shorter queues at ticket offices, more durable tickets and quicker and more reliable passage through automatic ticket barriers
David Statham, Managing Director for Southeastern, said: “I am very pleased that we have agreed a deal with the Department for Transport that will allow us to bring in smart cards on our network.
“These will allow our passengers to beat those Monday morning queues as they will make it much easier and quicker for passengers to buy weekly, monthly or annual season tickets online and load on to their smart card before setting off on their journey.”
Read more about the South East Flexible Ticketing Programme in European Railway Review Issue 4 2015 where ATOC’s SEFT Director, Andrew Keating, takes a closer look at what it’s all about. Subscribe now to receive the next issue.