Increased Use of Smart Tickets for Rail Travel

Evidence shows increased use of smart rail tickets, but are passengers creating their own paper tickets?

​Smart train tickets reach tipping point as paper tapers off

More passengers are opting for smart tickets. Could the end of the paper ticket be insight?

Over 1,100km of tickets saved

Just about half of all railway Journeys in the UK are taken by a passenger who is using a paperless ticket.

The tickets that are no longer being printed by the railway companies would cover the distance from London to Barcelona, some eleven hundred kilometres.

Paper down by more than ten percent

Figures from rail industry sources show that over the past year the number of paper ticket journeys has dropped from six in ten to five in ten.

Paperless or smart tickets now account for 65million journeys over the last year.

That means that the number of journeys for which a paper ticket was used has dropped by 13.3 million year on year.

Encouraging the smart ticket use

The move away from paper follows major upgrades as the rail industry has worked together to improve technology, install and upgrade ticket barriers at stations and promote smart tickets to passengers.

The rail operators claim that smart tickets can be kept securely, save passengers time with no need to queue to buy a ticket and they allow people to book online from anywhere for anyone.

Covering both smartcards and barcode tickets on mobile phones, they are also less likely to wear out and stop working than paper tickets.

Paper still in evidence

A quick poll amongst the team shows that our experience does not quite match what the rail industry is saying about the use of paperless tickets.

Yes, we are booking our tickets online and selecting the e-ticket option, but then like many of the other passengers that we have seen on our recent train journeys we are printing our own versions of the tickets.

The train operators may be saving on printing tickets, but many passengers it seems still like the convenience of having a paper copy of their ticket.

The future

In February, the Rail Delivery Group set out proposals to reform the fares system which, if accepted, will make fares simpler and easier-to-use, enhancing the benefits of smart ticketing.

Read about the proposals at this link.


Image by Ron Porter from Pixabay

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