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.