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Southern Railway passengers’ trial new smart card ticketing scheme

25 November 2011


Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Norman Baker MP has launched Southern Railway’s new smartcard pilot scheme. The rechargeable ITSO compliant smart card called “the key” provides an alternative to paper tickets and makes buying tickets and travelling easier and more convenient for passengers.

As well as providing the central customer and card management (CMS) back-office systems so that Southern rail can manage the customer lifecycle, ACT provides the central ticket transaction and security system called the HOPS which transacts all journey transactions. In addition ACT managed the integration of multiple complex interfaces with devices such as rail gates, ticketing portals and station validators. As the ITSO design authority on many successful projects, ACT was able to draw on its vast ITSO experience to deliver smart ticketing capability to Southern Rail.

The pilot is taking place at all rail stations between Brighton and Seaford where ACT’s Retail POST® software has been installed on Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) station hardware to support the smart card initiative. Around 100 passengers and railway staff are piloting the scheme but it will be offered to more passengers at the end of the three-month trial.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Baker commented, “Smart ticketing is already beginning to make a positive impact across the country, and now it is giving passengers the confidence to get out of their cars and onto public transport. I am sure the same can be true for rail travel in Sussex.”

“My vision is of a transport system where we can enjoy seamless travel on one smartcard. I will be following the progress of this trial closely.”

The key was first conceived by Southern’s parent company, the Go-Ahead Group and has been successfully rolled out by a number of Go-Ahead companies.

Adam Phayer, Southern’s Smartcard Programme Manager advises “Over the past 12 months we have worked well with ACT to deliver this innovation for our customers, the feedback and results have been very positive allowing the scheme to be extended in the future. As with any large and ground breaking IT project, there have been numerous challenges along the way. As a result we made a clear decision to work with strong suppliers such as ACT that possess in-depth transaction processing capability coupled with smart ticketing expertise that can support our business long-term.”

Go-Ahead recently won the Excellence in Technology category for the key, at the National Rail Awards and has an ambitious smart card deployment plan. Extending the key to Southern brings Go-Ahead a step further in their plans to give passengers the freedom to use the key across the group’s transport services.

Commenting on the pilot, Gary Watts, ACT Chief Executive said, “This has been yet another exciting development for the Go Ahead Group. ACT has successfully delivered smart ticketing capability to a number of Go Ahead bus and rail companies. The introduction of products such as the CMS and Retail POST demonstrates our continued commitment to innovation and creating solutions that meet customer requirements”


For more information, please contact: Joanne Hutchinson, Marketing Manager, Applied Card Technologies Limited.

T: 01249 751200
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