Innovation award for rail barcode ticket programme

A smarter ticketing programme for rail passengers has been recognised with an industry innovation award.

The ongoing programme, led by the Rail Delivery Group and supported by North Highland, aims to increase the acceptance of barcode tickets on mobile devices at stations around the country. In addition to the 759 barriers that already accept barcode tickets, more than 800 are being upgraded.

In addition, over 3,100 handheld scanning devices are being introduced, so by the end of this year the programme will see barcode tickets accepted on more than 70% of travelled routes in the country (outside of London).

The Cross-Industry Innovation Award was given as part of the annual Railway Industry Awards which took place last month and recognised the collaboration across the industry to achieve such widespread implementation.

Head of Ticketing at the Rail Delivery Group, Duncan Henry, said:

“We are honoured to receive this innovation award for a programme which is playing a key role in our strategic plan, delivering part of our commitment to customer satisfaction by upgrading technology, and allowing more passengers to use digital tickets on their mobile devices. This programme has only been possible thanks to the hard work, dedication and clear focus of Rail Delivery Group and our industry colleagues and delivery partners such as North Highland.”

Starting in 2016, the Rail Delivery Group’s ticketing team worked closely with the Train Operating Companies and industry supply chain to carry out detailed research through customer and staff experience workshops to understand what could be improved to make a journey seamless for passengers. The findings were then used to develop a cross-industry plan.

An example of how the team were able to improve the experience with barcode tickets was to develop an audible alert to ensure that passengers know that their ticket has been scanned, thus reducing confusion when using the barriers. 

Using customer data, the roll out programme is based on the proportion of barcode tickets expected to be used at each station. Some stations, where more than half of customers are expected to use a barcode ticket, will have every gate upgraded. For example, all 173 barriers at Waterloo station are being upgraded.

“Smarter ticketing such as Barcode is part of the foundation of understanding our customers and being able to provide them with simpler, faster ticketing choices, better travel products and more valued services including more useful information. This is the first of a number of active programmes in the ticketing space being delivered by RDG and I am delighted the team have been recognised with this award”, added Duncan Henry.

Notes to editors

  • Barcode tickets have been in use on the rail network since 2008
  • Different Train Operating Companies developed different products and there was limited interoperability between them
  • Barcode tickets are well received but there is often confusion for passengers about where they work
  • The National Barcode Acceptance Programme will help by making barcodes more widely accepted across the network
  • The programme is a collaboration between RDG, TOCs and industry suppliers
  • The Rail Industry Awards – Cross-Industry Innovation Award recognises to work of RDG and consultants North Highland in working to bring together the many stakeholders involved in the programme
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