Chiltern Railways has launched a mobile ticketing system that enables passengers to use their mobile phone for buying, receiving and validating train tickets.
It’s believed to be the first time that rail passengers have been able to use any mobile phone - smartphones or ‘feature phones’ - to buy and receive rail tickets in a single transaction. Passengers can use their phone to buy a ticket and to pass through the barrier.
The technology has been developed by Masabi and Atos Origin and is being launched with versions for a wide variety of phone handsets, including Apple, BlackBerry, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson handsets. Customers can either search their application store for the Chiltern Railways app or can text ‘Chiltern’ to 88600. The software is free for consumers (except for the initial text message or download costs) and doesn’t charge a booking fee.
Tickets are delivered as a barcode that can be shown on the phone screen. Special scanners on the gates at Chiltern Mainline stations will enable passengers to pass through as if they had a traditional ticket; ticket inspectors will also have readers that’ll scan the ticket.
Thomas Ableman, Marketing Director of Chiltern Railways, said “This innovation in ticketing is a first within the rail industry and comes at a time when we are investing £250 million on our route to transform rail travel to and from London. The Chiltern Mainline will reduce journey times significantly and our app ensures that passengers spend far less time searching for, queuing, buying and printing tickets. Rigorous usability testing means that we are confident our app is simple and easy to use for all passengers and we are delighted to have developed this industry first by making ticketing faster at a time when we’re also doing the same to our trains.”