Chiltern Railways announces ticket free travel pilot

19 January 2017  •  Author: Katie Sadler, European Railway Review

Chiltern Railways has announced it is partnering with SilverRail Technologies in the development and pilot for ticket free travel.

Chiltern Railways announces ticket free travel pilot

Chiltern Railways has joined forces with SilverRail to help develop and pilot its new approach to rail travel removing the need to buy and carry a ticket on the day.

The idea was conceived by Arriva UK Trains owned Chiltern Railways in 2015. The concept is part of a long term focus on improving the customer experience with the aim of making travelling as simple and frictionless as possible. Arriva UK Trains submitted a proposal through the RSSB Future Railway competition and was awarded funding for six projects of which this pilot scheme is one.

Customer smartphones detect start of travel and Bluetooth opens ticket gates

The development of technology between SilverRail and the train operator will allow passengers to use their smartphones to detect commencement of travel and use Bluetooth to open ticket gates, automatically charging the customer the best price for their journey at the end of the day. Furthermore, at ungated stations geolocation tools are used to locate the customer and the trains travelled on.

“This app-based concept eliminates the need to purchase a ticket”

Dave Penney, Managing Director of Chiltern Railways commented on the pilot: “Customers want to travel easily with assurance that they have paid the best price; this app-based concept eliminates the need to purchase a ticket instead using Bluetooth and geolocation tracking to determine journeys taken charging the best value fare at the end of the day.  We chose to work with SilverRail as they share our drive for innovation and are an incredibly agile and innovative, rail focused organisation with a wide range of experience.”

In addition to the new way of paying for travel, the app will also offer personalised, real-time travel updates, commuter advice and multi-modal journey options.  “Our goal is to remove uncertainty and frustration to create a relaxed, stress-free journey for Chiltern’s commuters” says Carmel Roche, Head of Mobile at SilverRail Technologies. “We are extremely excited that Chiltern is embracing this opportunity to make door-to-door travel simple, seamless and cost effective.”

The pilot will take place on Chiltern’s newly built route between Oxford Parkway, Bicester Village station, Bicester North and London Marylebone.  Customers will need to download the app in order to travel. The mobile technology will also provide a history of journeys, prices and how the best value fare has been calculated.   

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