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  • Transport Card Forum

    The Transport Card Forum (TCF) was established by Smartex in 1997 at the request of the UK Department for Transport (DfT). It is a membership-based association open to all who are involved professionally with transport applications of smart cards and other smart customer media within the UK. The TCF is a forum where members and delegates from the public and private sector meet for discussion and mutual education relating to smart ticketing, smart payment, journey management and reporting, and to the underlying technologies supporting such applications.

    Originally established to assist in enabling the implementation of integrated transport policies as set out in the 1998 UK government Integrated Transport White Paper, its role has been updated and strengthened with the publishing in 2009 of a specific government strategy for smart and integrated ticketing on public transport in England. There have been parallel developments in Wales and Scotland. The TCF meets in plenary sessions 4 times per year. Much of its work is carried out in Working Groups which address issues of the moment and report back to the TCF, often with recommendations for the DfT to consider.

    What our members say: “Everyone who’s anyone in the transport industry is a member of The Transport Card Forum.” Mel Pashley, Ecebs “The Transport Card Forum is uniquely valuable as it delivers instant access to the sector leaders and their wide-ranging knowledge. The Forum is tremendously useful for the DfT as it represents stakeholders in smart cards and in many related areas such as e-payment.” Eric Sampson, formerly Director of Vehicle Telematics, DfT

  • 2018 Meetings

    This Forum meets quarterly. Meeting subjects are selected by the TCF Steering Group. Amongst the topics and activities that we are likely to be addressing are:

    • Updates from the DfT for current and proposed smart ticketing and payment strategies
    • Establishment of TCF Working Groups for analysis and recommendations on topical issues
    • The continuing development of mobiles for transport applications such as journey planning, ticketing, boarding cards, payment and many other useful applications for travellers
    • The deployment of MaaS and its impact
    • Biometric techniques for public transport applications • Account-based ticketing (ABT) and its impact
    • Will the future bring a national account-based central system for transport payments?
    • Monitoring of initiatives and plans for commercial smart ticketing and payment
    • Developing effective Real-Time-Information systems
    • Exposing relevant technical issues, for example for bus exit reading & ungated train stations
    • Using tokenisation technology to improve security
    • Pay-As-You-Go in urban areas
    • Will tickets disappear?
    • Updates on the progress of the ITSO specifications, and of ITSO for Mobiles
    • cEMV contactless card technology and its evolving role in UK public transport
    • Do UK transport operators really want interoperability?
    • The how, where, when and what of TfN, and its impact on other regional schemes
    • Improving the whole-journey experience with smart technology
    • Assessment of winners and losers in the transport contactless payment arena
    • Are beacons or BLE going to happen in transport?
    • Why do QR codes refuse to die?
    • Case studies from UK LA-controlled and commercial smart transport scheme operators
    • Case studies from overseas smart transport initiatives
    • TCF18: Manchester is the location for our annual two-day regional conference & exhibition


    Meeting Agendas and Dates

    • For 2018 meeting dates and agendas please click here.
  • TCF News

    Updated on 7th December 2018

    How to use the ONE card to get around Delhi
    Condé Nast Traveller India
    Unlike the Metro smartcard, which can only be used in buses, the ONE card can be used on all modes of public transport—the Delhi Metro, DTC buses ...
    (Delhi manages something that took the UK over 20 years to fail to do. Ed.)

    UK: Oyster and contactless payment to be extended further outside London
    Railway Gazette
    UK: Acceptance of Oyster and contactless payment is to be extended to Hertford North and Epsom next year, Rail Minister Andrew Jones announced on November 30. …A public consultation is due to begin early next year on proposals to extend acceptance to more stations outside the Greater London area. Department for Transport says that its longer-term goal is to extend pay-as-you-go travel across other urban areas, which could include mobile technology as well as its preferred ITSO smart card.

    Touch Smartcard
    South Western Railway
    Smart ticketing means you can conveniently buy and manage your tickets online. You'll never have to queue at the ticket office, or buy or replace ...

    Transdev announced as successful bidder for innovation grant funding to test new smart ...
    Bradford Zone
    Transdev Blazefield CEO Alex Hornby said: “I'm very proud that we will be the first bus operator to bring contactless capping to buses in the North of ...

    Rambus Smart Ticketing
    Rambus PR
    Smart ticketing is changing the way we travel – bringing greater convenience and security to travelers and transport operators alike. Using smart cards and smart phones, travelers can store and use their tickets electronically, eliminating the need for traditional paper tickets and enabling users to simply tap their smart card or device on a gate or validator to access their travel.

    Xplore Dundee confirms contactless rollout as it launches posh new buses
    Evening Telegraph
    Ms McGlasson added: “These new ticket machines are the first major step towards contactless payment and we hope to be able to complete the ...

    Placing Public Transport at the Centre of MaaS
    Intelligent Transport/Masabi
    Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is the hottest topic in the transport sector right now and during this Intelligent Transport webinar we look at the different approaches to MaaS currently being proposed, discuss the various benefits these offer and the challenges they face.

    MP confirms Oyster Card and contactless payment to be rolled out at Epsom
    Surrey Comet
    Commuters travelling to and from Epsom will soon get to tap in and out of the railway station using an Oyster Card and contactless payment, it has ...
    (Note: “...will soon get to tap in…”.  No prizes for guessing who the MP is: Ed.)

    Contactless payments coming to Dundee buses within days
    Evening Telegraph
    Contactless payments for under 19 single fares are not currently accepted by the firm. Stagecoach will be hosting information events in the local area ...

    UK: Oyster cards coming to St Albans
    Herts Advertiser
    Oyster cards are coming to St Albans, following a decision by the Department for Transport.

    Contactless Payment for Public Transport
    To bring this ideal to life, Transport for NSW partnered with Mastercard to build a framework that supports an “open loop” contactless payment system ...

    Tascent face biometrics solution to streamline passenger processing for Royal Caribbean Cruises
    Biometric Update
    Tascent face biometrics solution to streamline passenger processing for Royal ... To use the new face recognition-enabled Expedited Arrivals process, ...

    Sydney's trains go contactless
    Some of the contactless technology, software and equipment developed for Sydney will also be included in Cubic projects to be rolled out over the ...

    Brighton and Hove Buses will now be accepting contactless payments
    The Argus
    Mr Harris said: “Contactless also helps speed up boarding and make bus journeys quicker. “That's absolutely key in a busy city like Brighton & Hove ...
    (…and from another news item: “Passengers just need to tap their phones or bank cards on the ticket machine when they get on the bus: face down for cards, face up for phones.” Very clever… Ed.)

    Is 2019 going to be the year that Lothian Buses get contactless payments?
    Edinburgh Live
    Since as early as 2014, Twitter users have been asking the bus operator when they were going to introduce contactless payments, or - at the very least ...

    Train operator Northern announces plans to replace cardboard tickets with smartcards
    Lancashire Evening Post
    “The launch of the smartcard project is a vital first step in the delivery of an even more ambitious, integrated smart travel system for the whole of the ...
    (Fully compliant with TfN – sorry, TfUK – specs, Ed. gathers… from this item: Transport for the North launches smartcard project in Global Railway Review)

    Contactless payments are coming to EVERY bus in Derby - here's when
    Derbyshire Live
    The three main public bus companies that operate in Derby, Arriva, Trentbarton and YourBus, will all be providing contactless payment services by ...

    New Zealand: Kate Hawkesby: Hopping mad at Auckland Transport's useless card system and bus drivers
    An integrated non-cash ticketing system is expected to be rolled out nationwide at some point - so here's the warning. It doesn't work. I bought my daughter a Hop card, topped it up, waited the ridiculously long time of up to 72 hours for it to be loaded, and sent her on her way. She hopped on the (very late) bus and the card was declined. She was stood down off the bus. I rang Auckland Transport who told me that was odd and to try again. I did. She was stood down off the bus again.

    Hull to be centre of trial that could see big changes to north's rail network
    Hull Daily Mail
    The trial comes ahead of bold plans for train and bus networks across the north to support contactless payments, as is seen in cities such as London.

    Contactless payments are coming to EVERY bus in Derby - here's when
    Derbyshire Live
    The three main public bus companies that operate in Derby, Arriva, Trentbarton and YourBus, will all be providing contactless payment services ...

    ITSO Transit Hub enables Google Pay to transform smart ticketing
    Intelligent Transport
    ITSO Transit Hub, is bringing ITSO – the UK's trusted national smartcard – to mobile phones by enabling Google Pay to ensure an instant, secure and ...

    Every rail station in Britain 'should allow you to pay using contactless' say transport chiefs
    Evening Standard
    Transport chiefs today called for contactless payments to be accepted across the UK rail network as they revealed conventional tickets were “on the ...
    As TfL’s commissioner, Mike Brown, points out, there is no technological reason why contactless pay as you go should not be extended nationally.
    (Yesterday it was called TfL: now it thinks it’s TfUK… Ed’s. dumb question: …And if the fare might just occasionally exceed £30? …Tap in/tap out?)

    Transport for the North to launch Smart on Rail project
    Insider Media
    The focus of the project is on upgrading customers' tickets from paper to smartcard, starting with passengers buying season tickets on a smartcard at a ... (TfN or TfUK? Confus-Ed.)

    Arriva launches contactless on its Tunbridge Wells buses
    Arriva was joined by Greg Clark MP last week to launch contactless ticketing on its fleet of buses in Tunbridge Wells.

    No link, but an interesting development: Ed.
    Try Trainline's no-fuss Season Tickets
    We now have the most popular types of Season Ticket - Weekly, Monthly, Custom, TfL and Annual ready for you. If you travel regularly, they could save you a lot of money.  When you get a Season Ticket from us, there's no need to queue at the station. Choose your type, tell us your Photocard number*, and we'll pop the ticket in the post to you.
    (Tomorrow’s aggregators/integrators? Ed.)

    We're doing maintenance for contactless
    We're doing maintenance for contactless. Sorry for the disruption. We're working to get our website back to normal but in the meantime here's some ...
    (Oh dear, London grinds to a halt. Now where’s that old Oyster card of mine? Ed.)

    Apple Pay and contactless comes to buses and trams in Nottingham
    West Bridgford Wire
    A scheme to allow tram and bus users to pay with contactless cards, smart watches, Apple Pay, and PayPal is now set to be fully operational in April ...

    Coventry taxis could soon take card payment while tuk-tuks could be available on city centre streets
    Coventry Observer
    COVENTRY taxi drivers could soon take contactless and card payment while tuk-tuks and pedicabs could soon be available on city centre streets after ...
    (Today Coventry, tomorrow the real world.  And Ed. thought Rick Shaw was a pop singer.  Yet another Labour Council delivers for its city.)

    Practical MaaS Coming to Canada with Masabi and Transit
    Masabi PR
    … Every day, over 7,000 people in St. Catharines already use Transit to get around their city, which is more than 60% of the people who will board a bus! With the addition of our SDK, from January they’ll all be able to pay and display tickets when boarding the bus from within the app, for everything from single rides to monthly passes. For riders, this makes scrambling for the right change a thing of the past, but also will lead to speedier boarding and faster trips for everyone.

    Transport Systems Catapult and Future Cities Catapult to unite to create innovation power house
    TSC News
    Our big news this month is that Transport Systems Catapult and Future Cities Catapult will unite to create a new innovation powerhouse. The organisation will bring together the skills and expertise of both teams to tackle the challenges of modern cities and address the future of mobility.

    trend of contactless payment card usage graph
    The chart below shows the number of contactless payment cards used on buses since December 2012 and on rail since 16 September 2014. It shows ...
    (Would that be from when they stopped people using cash on buses in London?  Ed.)

    Cashless society edges step closer with 1 in 5 Brits now never carrying money
    A spokesman for First Bus said: “We are immensely proud to offer our customers the option to pay by contactless on every single bus that we operate ...(Survey conducted in Scotland perhaps: Ed.)

    ... Nope, Scottish people certainly still use cash. (Ed.)
    ScotRail smartcard target could be delayed by TWENTY YEARS after millions of commuters snub ...
    The Scottish Sun
    Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Jamie Greene added: “This statistic shows just what a shambles the SNP has made of smart ticketing in ...

    Smart ticketing platform Ticketless™ launches in Germany
    Urbanthings PR
    It’s a big day over here at UrbanThings! We’ve officially launched our smart ticketing platform Ticketless™ in the German city of Detmold. At the beginning of the year, we partnered with IVU Traffic Technologies and German transport operator Stadtverkehr Detmold (SVD) , and set our sights on delivering Ticketless into Germany. This week, we’re delivering on that vision and have released the city’s first smart ticketing app following a successful beta trial.

    Cashless payment comes at the expense of those who most need public transit
    Dailyfree Press
    … Public transit should inherently exist to provide an option for low-income commuters who can’t afford to drive their own car or be driven by someone else. If the T changes entirely to a cashless system, especially on buses, it’ll become not necessarily a resource for the wealthy, but a resource for the financially sound — and that’s dangerous.

    Contactless Payments Come to Scarborough Buses
    Yorkshire Coast Radio
    EYMS is confident the versatility and stress-free nature of contactless will benefit drivers and existing customers while helping bolster ...

    Paragon ID announces strategic investment in airweb
    Paragon ID takes a unique and world-leading position in Mobile ticketing applications with strategic investment in airweb

    UrbanThings launches smart ticketing platform Ticketless™ in Germany
    [No link: Ed.]
    UrbanThings are happy to announce that they’ve launched their smart ticketing platform Ticketless™ in the German city of Detmold. In Partnership with IVU Traffic Technologies and German transport operator Stadtverkehr Detmold (SVD), Ticketless has been rolled out to the public this week following a successful beta trial in the city.

    Bilbao Selects Masabi for EMV Contactless Ticketing System Allowing Passengers to Simply Tap ...
    RealWire (press release)
    Masabi Adds Contactless Capabilities to Justride Platform, Bringing SaaS Account-based cEMV Ticketing to Cities of Any Size. Smart City World Expo, ...(Masabi must be a serious takeover target these days.  Ed.)

    EMT Madrid to Launch Mobile Ticketing on Airport Express Buses
    Masabi PR
    Bus operator to offer multi-language Mobile Ticketing for passengers and scanning hardware on buses in collaboration with Mastercard, Santander and Masabi

    Scotland: Over £1 million to support contactless bus payments
    A £1.1m fund to support smaller bus operators in accepting contactless bank payments has been launched by the Scottish Government.

    West Midlands Joins Las Vegas & Portland in Accepting Google Pay Travel Tickets
    Gizmodo UK
    Now, if you buy mobile tickets through Swift, you can move them into Google Pay and use your phone as your ticket rather than getting your card out.

    Dijon is first French city to offer contactless payment on both buses and trams Intelligent Transport
    Opened on 27 March 2018 in Dijon trams, open payment allows travellers to pay and validate their trip directly with their contactless card or their ...

    UK: New services, contactless payments and live bus tracking all part of new expansion for Stagecoach in the Highlands
    Press and Journal
    Stagecoach North Scotland today confirmed plans to expand its Inverness bus operations through the proposed acquisition of certain assets from D&E Coaches.

    Five crucial Mersey Tunnels updates you NEED to know about
    Liverpool Echo
    Contactless card payment trials in the Mersey Tunnels have been hailed as a "major success" - but there is STILL no date for when the service will be ...
    (It’ll be lovely when it’s finished: Ed.)

    Contactless payment coming to Heathrow Express
    Heathrow Express has announced that from next month, passengers will be able to use Contactless payment or Oyster to travel on trains. Contactless ...

    UK: All aboard for mobile payments on LNER trains
    London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is to arm its operatives with mobile PoS devices based on ECR’s RailPoS software to give passengers faster and more reliable payment technology for at-seat services on the London King’s Cross to Edinburgh route. The route, which services stations including York, Leeds, Newcastle, Aberdeen and Inverness, is now being run by LNER - a Department for Transport (DfT) owned company. LNER will operate the route until a public-private partnership takes responsibility for both trains and track operations in 2020. All Virgin Trains East Coast staff have transferred to the new franchise.


    Smartex’s annual two-day Conference & Exhibition for the TCF

    Smart transport technology on the move

    25th & 26th September 2018

    Macdonald Manchester Hotel, London Road, Manchester M1 2PG

    Kindly supported by Transport for Greater Manchester


    Following last September’s record conference with Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM) in Birmingham, we are delighted to announce TCF18, supported by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), our two-day event for 2018 which this time will have as its main theme Smart transport technology on the move.

    We shall be bringing together transport operators, consultants, suppliers, cities, Local Government bodies and other industry specialists to explain, debate and understand the current status, challenges and future plans affecting the smart transport landscape, with particular focus on the North West of England.

    TCF18 will be supported and enriched by our sponsors and other exhibitors, so far including ITSO (Lead sponsor), ACT a Fujitsu Company, Cammax, Creditcall, ESP Group, FAIRTIQFlowbird Transport Intelligence, Hammock, INIT, Paragon ID, Rambus, SmartranThe Hub Company, Ticketless by UrbanThings and Vix, who will be on hand to demonstrate and explain their latest products and services for this sector, and whose generosity permits Smartex to offer free attendance to non-member transport operators and Local Government bodies with transport schemes.


    • Transport Operators (FREE, terms apply, see below)
    • Local Authorities (FREE, terms apply, see below)
    • Product and Service Suppliers (terms apply, see below)
    • Anyone with an interest in passenger transport and trends affecting the smart transport technology industry (terms apply, see below)


    • Appreciate the fundamental shifts happening in smart public transport
    • Learn from expert speakers about the emerging strategy and tactics for enhancing the quality and spread of smart transport systems in the UK
    • See demonstrations of modern smart ticketing, payment and related products
    • Discover the latest technologies that are revolutionising ticketing, payments and much more
    • Network with senior transport industry officials
    • Enjoy our legendary Smartex hospitality

    TCF18 AGENDA - Download the TCF18 Agenda


    The following will be included:

    • Participation at all sessions on both days
    • Access to all available presentation material
    • Refreshments on arrival and throughout both days, including two buffet luncheons
    • Cocktail reception
    • Free Wifi access

    The following are not included, and if required, must be reserved and paid for by participating delegates:

    • Overnight accommodation
    • Dinner on the evening of 25th September


    Our informal evening cocktail reception will be held in the exhibition room on Tuesday, 25th September.


    We are planning our traditional TCF18 dinner, and this will be held after the cocktail reception on Tuesday, 25th September at a nearby restaurant.  Guests will be asked to pay for their own meals, and this may be done in advance with Smartex.  Any particular dietary requirements or constraints should be provided to Smartex beforehand. 


    Attendees at TCF18 may reserve overnight accommodation at the TCF18 event location, the Macdonald Manchester Hotel, at discounted B&B rates for a Classic Double room for single occupancy.  Smartex has allocated 25 such rooms for the night of 24th September, at a rate of £115, and 45 rooms for the night of 25th September, at a rate of £110.

    To reserve a room, please call 0344 879 9210 and quote 'Smartex Allocation' to receive the agreed rate.  You will need provide a card for guarantee at the time of the booking, and settle your own account on departure.  The cut-off date is Monday 27th August 2018.  From the cut-off date, the agreed rate is not guaranteed and any rooms not taken will be released automatically.  If additional rooms are required after the cut-off, then they will be subject to availability and not guaranteed at the agreed rate.


    Current Smartex members with remaining attendance entitlements for a normal TCF one-day meeting may attend free-of-charge within their membership, and this event will count as one day of attendance, even if both days are attended.  Sponsors will each be offered two delegate passes for the conference sessions.


    • Delegates from invited non-member transport operators and Local Authorities may attend free-of-charge for both days
    • Other non-members may attend at a cost of £200 + VAT per day


    To register your attendance, please complete and submit our online TCF18 registration form.


    If you have any questions, or would be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Annabel Cartwright at or call +44 (0)1440 712610 or +44 (0)7785 254405.

  • Ten Reasons to Join Smartex

    1. How much of retail and transport services will contactless EMV penetrate, and when?
    2. How will the explosive growth of IoT affect our market, and will it be MNO-led?
    3. Smart cards could soon be superseded by mobiles, but how and when?
    4. Which comms technologies, such as NFC, QR Barcodes, BLE or iBeacons could dominate?
    5. Why is there no clear national strategy for commercial public transport payment systems?
    6. Will the new breed of challenger banks threaten existing schemes and banks?
    7. Who will win in the emerging micropayment, e-payment, prepaid and m-payment worlds?
    8. Who will win the m-wallet wars, and is there really a future for m-wallets?
    9. When will biometrics supersede PINs for authentication and authorization?
    10. When will smart campus schemes migrate to mobiles and adopt biometrics?


    Smartex Forums debate & seek answers to these and other pressing, highly topical issues.

    Since 1993, over 550 of our sector-specific meetings have attracted some 17,750 delegate-days of attendance, with over 2,000 specialist speakers covering the entire spectrum of smart cards, the smartphone revolution, IoT, biometrics, RFID tags, wearables and related technologies as applied to the main smart market areas. With so many new technologies, applications and form factors on the near horizon, it’s hard to understand or even imagine our industry without Smartex meetings and networking.

    Several of our Forums have become sector-specific, especially for transport ticketing and payment, for University and College smart campus schemes, and for the FinTech market. The newest Forum, IoTA, addresses the huge emerging opportunities relating to the little-understood Internet of Things. We constantly modify the scopes of our Forums to accommodate the ever-changing smart reality.

    During 2017, some 500 different individuals attended our 21 meetings, representing nearly 300 organizations. Worldwide membership, covering our affiliated associations in Asia Pacific and Central Eastern Europe, exceeds 220 companies from all parts of our industry. Networking, and doing business with fellow members and other delegates, not only in the UK but also through our affiliated Forums overseas, is therefore yet another real benefit of membership.

    Annual membership fees, which have not risen for several years, can be as low as £1,100 - for 4 fullday attendances and a wide range of other useful services - which makes £1,000+ for a one-day public conference look pretty expensive. Can you afford not to be part of this influential group at the heart of these fast-moving and volatile technologies so vital in the new e- and m-worlds?

    Join Us Now

  • Members' Pages

    Members have access to restricted content.

    To access presentations from past meetings of our forums, click on the links below:

    Transport Card Forum


    Smart Payments Forum

    Mobile & Identity Forum

    Internet of Things Association

    Delegates' Area

    Delegates have access to presentations from the latest Smartex meeting.

    Delegate Presentations

  • September 2017: There are no TCF Working Groups at the moment.