Conservatives plan extension of contactless train ticketing

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Contactless pay-as-you-go ticketing will be extended to nearly 200 more train stations in south-east England under a Conservative government, the party has announced.

The measure will mean that half of all train journeys in Britain and “almost all” London commuter routes can be completed using a bank card, according to the Tory manifesto.

Most people travelling into the capital for work can already use contactless cards to pay for their travel.

The system means passengers avoid having to queue at a ticket machine and are designed to ensure they are automatically charged the correct fare for their journey, including through daily and weekly price caps.

Figures published last month by industry body the Rail Delivery Group showed that only half of train journeys are made using traditional paper tickets.

Passengers bought orange tickets for just 50% of journeys in the four weeks from August 18, compared with 63% during the same period last year.

The move towards smart ticketing – which includes contactless cards and smart cards such as London’s Oyster card – follows improvements in technology, the installation and upgrade of ticket barriers at stations and promotion of the system to passengers.

The Department for Transport has previously insisted it has no plans to withdraw paper tickets but wants to encourage people to use smart tickets.

The Tory manifesto also re-stated a series of other rail pledges, including:
– Build Northern Powerhouse Rail between Leeds and Manchester
– Overhaul the franchising model and give metro mayors control over services
– Restore “many of the lines” axed in the 1960s during the Beeching cuts
– To “consider the findings” of the Government-commissioned Oakervee Review into HS2

The document stated that European cities are often more productive than those in the UK because they have better infrastructure.

It added that a “transport revolution” is required to “level up” cities and regions.