End of the line for paper rail tickets? New technology 'will detect your smartphone on the train and then deduct the fare when you get off'
- Rail bosses are looking to introduce Bluetooth beacon technology
- Chiltern Railways, owned by Arriva, will trial the app-based technology
- The scheme has been part-funded by the Rail Safety and Standards Board
- Some 60 passengers will test scheme on the London to Birmingham line
A train company is planning to trial a new hands-free ticket system that will automatically deduct passengers' fares when they exit the train.
Rail bosses are looking to introduce beacon technology that will use Bluetooth frequencies to communicate with travellers' smartphones.
Chiltern Railways, owned by train company Arriva, will trial the app-based technology for a year from this December on the line between London and Birmingham.
The new system, which would see accounts debited at the end of the day, will mean passengers no longer need to buy paper tickets or buy passes on smartcards.
The scheme has been part-funded by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), a not-for-profit train innovation company.
The railway industry has previously come under fire for failing to adopt new ticketing technology.
A RSSB document said that under the new proposals, there was 'no chance of the customer buying an inappropriate ticket for their journey,' according to The Times.
Dave Penney, managing director of Chiltern, told the newspaper: 'We know passengers want to purchase tickets easily and travel for the best price; this app-based concept eliminates the need to purchase a ticket.
'Bluetooth sensors and geolocation 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 they are charged the appropriate fare for their journeys.'
The trial will see 60 passengers test the scheme between the stations of Oxford Parkway, Islip, Bicester Village, Bicester North and London Marylebone.
The new proposals come just two months after ministers unveiled plans to get rid of paper tickets completely.
Passengers will be told to 'tap in and out' of stations with their bank cards or use an app with a bar code on a mobile phone for longer journeys.
'It is a passion of mine to get rid of the tangerine tickets, which look something out of the 1970s, and move to something that far better suits what customers are using today: mobile technology,' said former rail minister Claire Perry during a Commons debate in June. 'The adoption of smart ticketing is moving very quickly in the country.'
However, campaigners for the elderly said at the time the changes would penalise millions of older people who do not want to use digital technology.