UK rail operators call for expressions of interest in developing national pay-as-you-go contactless ticketing

NATIONAL SYSTEM: The RDG aims to implement PAYG contactless digital ticketing across the whole GB Rail network

The UK’s Rail Delivery Group (RDG) — the industry body that represents the country’s train operating companies — is calling for expressions of interest from suppliers with a view to implementing regional and national pay-as-you-go contactless digital ticketing.

The RDG has issued a periodic indicative notice (PIN) that outlines a proposal to procure a ‘tap converter service’ that would enable rail operators to offer pay-as-you-go digital ticketing options and ensure that passengers pay the best possible fare for their journeys.

The tap converter service (TCS) will allow operators to submit taps from multiple token types, from which it will construct journeys and determine the best available fare based on the latest rail data – for example, timetable, disruption, fare data and more. It will then provide the calculated fare information to the operator so it can charge the customer, and submit settlement records to the rail industry settlement engine.

“RDG may procure a TCS, and associated services, with a view of delivering a ‘best of class’ service that would align to the strategic vision for future digital ticketing for GB Rail going forward,” the PIN states.

“RDG expects that a new service would be a tried and tested, cost effective, market leading, back-office system, that will: 

Consistently and accurately calculate the correct fare for customers who make National Rail journeys based on a series of supplied taps and industry data in any future account-based ticketing area.

Support multiple PAYG operators with varying customer propositions.

Support token-agnostic tap data (including but not limited to smartcard, cEMV, barcode, etc).

Integrate with other PAYG engines to support multi-modal fare calculations by PAYG operators.

Integrate with wider industry ecosystems and schemes.

Ensure transparency and predictability on a national basis, including but not limited to fare calculations, incomplete journeys, maximum fares, customer-supplied taps.”

Suppliers have until 4 December to register their interest in the RDG’s TCS market engagement.

The UK government unveiled plans for digital ticketing across the country’s national rail network — including contactless pay-as-you-go options — in May 2021.

UK rail operators call for expressions of interest in developing national pay-as-you-go contactless ticketing was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.