Southern trials Oyster-style smartcard

19 Aug 2011 by BusinessTraveller

Rail operator Southern is trialling a smartcard similar to the Transport for London's Oyster card, as an alternative to paper tickets.

The trial will involve 100 passengers travelling on the line between Brighton and Seaford, starting in September.

The smartcard – branded “the key” – will be reusable, allowing passengers to store and manage different ticket types through an online account. Southern says the trial will allow it to refine the system before rolling it out elsewhere.

The key system is already being used by other companies including Brighton and Hove Buses, and is based on the government-backed ITSO specifications which will eventually allow separate operators to link up and provide “multi-modal ticket products”, such as rail-bus tickets

Commenting on the trial Southern’s development director Alex Foulds said: “This is just the start. The key smartcard will evolve over time with many possibilities for the future. For example in time we will be able to tailor ticket products such as ‘early bird’ season tickets for those who travel earlier than the morning rush hour, or perhaps a carnet-style season ticket for less frequent travellers”.

The trial will take place between Brighton, London Road, Moulsecoomb, Falmer, Lewes, Southease, Newhaven Town, Newhaven Harbour, Bishopstone and Seaford stations.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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