Rail operator London Midland is to trial its new Smartcard technology in four stations across Worcestershire.
London Midland is one of the first UK train operating companies to launch its own 'Smartcard' – new paper-free technology that will allow easier journeys with a card that can be charged and recharged repeatedly.
During the trial a small number of smartcards will be in use alongside all the existing ticketing for rail users in Worcestershire.
Called 'The Key', the smartcard is a credit card sized piece of technology that will easily fit inside a wallet or purse.
An initial trial of the smartcard will cover journeys made between four railway stations:
- Droitwich Spa
- Worcester Foregate Street and
- Worcester Shrub Hill
A sample number of season ticket holders who travel between these stations will take part in the pilot, which starts in February.
The initial trial work is the very first step in the process of rolling out the Smartcard on London Midland services.
As new technology, The Key will change the way passengers buy, use and renew their tickets when they travel with London Midland.
As electronic, contactless technology, the smartcard will enable passengers to purchase online and collect at stations in a one-touch transaction.
It will allow people to buy ticket products at self service machines more quickly and easily than today.
Other benefits are extra security, as tickets can be quickly cancelled if lost or stolen, it will save time at stations with passengers quickly 'swiping' themselves through ticket gates.
And in future, users of The Key will quickly benefit from new products and the opportunity to use integrated transport.
The Key will be an ITSO compliant smartcard scheme. ITSO is the government approved technical standard for all new transport smartcard schemes.
As the Key smartcard will be ITSO compliant London Midland is laying the groundwork for integrated ticketing to be a future possibility between the Key and other train companies and eventually other bus companies and the London Travelcard as well.
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Since 2007, London Midland has been providing train services to and from London in the south, to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the north-west. Over 60 million passenger journeys a year are made using on the network and London Midland manage 148 stations and operate
over 1,300 services a day.
London Midland is owned by Govia, the partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. Govia
is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for nearly 30 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its three rail companies, Southern (which includes Gatwick Express services), Southeastern and London Midland. Further information on Govia is available at www.govia.info
London Midland has won a range of awards, including Best Local Transport Integration, four Rail Business Awards for marketing, public relations and customer information, five Golden Spanner Awards for Engineering, three IOIC awards for internal communication and three Railstaff Awards for Outstanding Customer Service, Lifesaving and Charity Work.
In 2013 London Midland was awarded the Investors in People (IiP) Silver Award and been awarded the 5 Star award by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in 2012.