sgursozlu - Fotolia

Chiltern Railways to test Bluetooth ticketing

Train operator has put a new spin on contactless ticketing by enabling it through mobile phones

Chiltern Railways is to pilot a new ticketing system that will use Bluetooth technology to identify when people board and leave trains via a connection to their smartphones.

This means that tickets, which can already be paid for using NFC (near-field communication)-enabled contactless bank cards, can now be bought automatically via a mobile phone.

Beacons will detect passengers’ smartphones and take payment for the journey from them when they leave the train. This means customers will no longer have to buy a ticket, top up pay-as-you-go cards or swipe card readers at the gates.

A 12-month pilot will begin in December involving 60 commuters. Chiltern Railways, which is owned by Arriva, operates between London and Birmingham.

Dave Penney, managing director at the train operator, said: “Bluetooth sensors and geo-location tracking are used to open ticket gates and determine journeys taken, then the customer is billed at the end of the day with a best-value guarantee ensuring that they are charged the appropriate fare for their journeys.”

This will be the latest evolution in ticketing aimed to make life easier for passengers and reduce operator costs.

In September 2015, TfL began accepting contactless card payments, which meant passengers on the London tube network could pay for journeys using contactless debit or  credit  cards in the same way Oyster cards are used.

Read more about developments in contactless payments

Commuters pay for travel through NFC technology in the same way as they can pay for goods in retail stores.

More than a million journeys are paid for on TfL’s network every day using contactless cards.

Its success led to the announcement in Parliament of an initiative to help roll out contactless payments for transport across the country. A framework has been developed by the UK Cards Association to help transport operators nationwide implement contactless payments.

TfL also plans to launch contactless payments for London’s black cabs. ........................................................................................................

Read more on Mobile apps and software