Smart421 boss hails company’s role in Abellio Greater Anglia’s ‘smart’ ticketing

Smart421 managing director Neil Miles.

Smart421 managing director Neil Miles.

A Suffolk company involved the delivery of “smart ticket” technology which is being adopted by regional rail operator Abellio Greater Anglia has welcomed news of the new facility’s launch later this year.

Ipswich-based Smart421, part of the KCOM group, won a contract last November from the commercial arm of the Association of Train Operating Companies to provide a Transaction Management System (TMS) for the South East Flexible Ticketing (SEFT) programme.

SEFT, which is being funded by the Department for Transport (DfT), involves the delivery of ITSO smart ticketing, the nationally-agreed specification for smart media transport tickets, for the entire rail network surrounding London.

Earlier this week, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer confirmed that passengers in Essex and East Anglia will soon to be able to benefit from the roll-out of the tecnology, with Abellio Greater Anglia among the operators to have signed an agreement with the DfT.

Working on upgrading Abellio’s ticket systems, including the phased introducttion of smart cards, initially for season tickets, will be carried out throughout 2015 with the aim of launching at the end of the year. The first routes to benefit are between Liverpool Street and Cambridge, Ely, Norwich and Southend Victoria.

Neil Miles, managing director of Smart421 said, “When we announced last November our contract win for the SEFT project, we knew the project would be high profile.

“Bringing smart ticketing to passengers who use the Greater Anglia service feels like a personal triumph for our business for two reasons. Firstly, using digital technology for smart ticketing is the way forward for rail travel. Secondly, like all local business here in Ipswich, the Greater Anglia line is the one that our business relies on the most. Every improvement possible for rail passengers gets my backing.”

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Besides making it easier to buy tickets online and collect them at stations, so also shortening queues at ticket offices, the new tickets will offer quicker and more reliable passage through automatic ticket barriers and greater security, as tickets can be blocked and replaced if lost or stolen.

Smart ticketing is already used in some parts of the UK, the best-known scheme being London’s Oyster card.

Other operators to have signed commitments to smart tickeing include c2c, South West Trains, Southern, and Govia Thameslink Railway.