UK plans progression of transport tickets to mobile phones


The UK government is proposing the introduction of a national smart ticketing system that will let travellers pay for bus and train journeys using their NFC-enabled bank cards and mobile phones.

The national plans come in the wake of London’s successful Oyster card system, which is now used for 78% of bus and tube journeys – according to Finextra .

Central to the plan is a national ticketing infrastructure using the government-backed ITSO smartcard specification which will enable ‘tickets’ to work anywhere in the country. Travellers could then use mobile phones and bank cards to pay directly for journeys by tapping them against specially equipped readers.

The department for transport estimates that the benefits of a universal ‘integrated smart’ system could be as much as £2 billion per year through improved journey times and faster, more convenient and reliable purchasing and use of tickets, with benefits for local government and operators too.

Transport Minister Sadiq Khan, transport minister, says: “We know that passengers want quicker journeys and better reliability, and smart ticketing will help us do that. We could see the end to waiting in line at ticket machines, while buses could spend half the amount of time sitting at the bus stop waiting for people to board and looking for the right change. In some cases, direct payments may even do away with the need for a ticket at all.”

Jonathan Bray, director, passenger transport executive group support unit, adds: “Oystercard has become intrinsic to London life – passengers have a right to expect a similar deal in the next tier of major urban areas.”

Transport for London recently revealed the Oyster card could be dumped by 2010 in favour of a system that uses mobile phones or bank cards.