A new app, part-funded through RSSB’s TOC’15 competition, which replaces the need for passengers to hold paper train tickets is to be tested on the route between London Marylebone and Oxford later this year.
Chiltern Railways are to begin testing Bluetooth technology that detects travellers via their smartphone and automatically deducts the right fares for their journey from December 2016. The trial will involve about 60 passengers testing hands-free ticketing between five stations: Oxford Parkway, Islip, Bicester Village, Bicester North and London Marylebone.
The Managing Director of Chiltern Railways, Dave Penney, said that the trial “could be the next evolution of rail ticketing”. The trial will use ‘beacons’ which register passengers as they step on to a train and exit a station, debiting their bank account accordingly.
Chiltern Railways’ parent company Arriva UK Trains were one of three leading train operating companies who have received money through a £6m innovation fund, facilitated by RSSB, known as the TOC’15 competition. The Chiltern trials are being carried out as part of Arriva’s Retrospective Ticket Pricing programme which was one of the winning entries in the competition. Other winners included Govia Thameslink Railway and First Great Western.
The TOC'15 competition seeks to provide solutions to the challenges outlined in the Rail Technical Strategy - improving the customer experience, expanding capacity on the line, reducing carbon and minimising costs. The projects include new ways of personalising travel information as well as exploring how to help reduce the levels of chronic overcrowding on the busiest commuter routes.