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Could this be the end of the line for train tickets?

PUBLISHED: 06:30 28 June 2019

Growing numbers of commuters are ditching paper train tickets for new rail smart cards in East Anglia, which Greater Anglia say are quicker and easier to use Picture: David Vincent

Growing numbers of commuters are ditching paper train tickets for new rail smart cards in East Anglia, which Greater Anglia say are quicker and easier to use Picture: David Vincent

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The rise in the use of Smart Cards and mobile tickets is helping to cut the number of paper tickets on Greater Anglia lines, and cutting queue times.

Smart cards have arrived for the majority of season ticket holders on Greater Anglia trains across East Anglia.Smart cards have arrived for the majority of season ticket holders on Greater Anglia trains across East Anglia.

Currently, 94.5% of annual season ticket holders and 84% of monthly season ticket holders use plastic smart cards instead of paper tickets.

Greater Anglia says the smart cards and e-tickets purchased on mobile are much quicker to use than paper tickets because they are less likely to fail when scanned.

This has helped speed up entry and exit onto platforms for travellers.

But there is still a long way to go to eliminate the 1.8m tickets, reservations and receipts issued by Abellio Greater Anglia each month.

End of the line for train tickets, as more people switch to smart cards and buying cards on their phones.
Picture: DAVID VINCENTEnd of the line for train tickets, as more people switch to smart cards and buying cards on their phones. Picture: DAVID VINCENT

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Richard Walton, Greater Anglia's smart service delivery manager, said: "We've been listening to customers about their experiences of using Smart Cards and have made continuous service improvements to ensure they are really convenient, secure and reliable.

"For example, we've upgraded our Greater Anglia app so that if you have an Android phone, you can hold your Smart Card against it and it will automatically transfer the products you have bought from the website or app, onto your Smart Card.

"It's an amazing innovation which means no more queuing at the ticket machines to administer the card."

The switch hasn't been without problems. Transport for London had to install new software to improve gate readers for passengers at London Liverpool Street after East Anglian passengers reported problems with barriers.

The Greater Anglia smart cards have to be placed on the readers, rather than swiped like Oyster cards.

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