Slide background
  • 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.
  • Smartex’s annual two-day Conference & Exhibition for the Transport Card Forum

     “Smart Transport for the New Generation”

    Kindly supported by Transport for the West Midlands

    25th & 26th September 2017

    Birmingham Council House, Waterloo St, Birmingham B1 1BB

    Following last September’s successful event with Transport for the North in Leeds, we are delighted to invite you to this special two-day TCF meeting, supported by Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM), which this time will have as its main theme the development of smart transport systems that will meet young people's needs and expectations.  We shall be bringing together transport operators, consultants, suppliers, Local Government Authorities and other industry specialists to learn about and debate the current status, challenges and future plans affecting the smart transport landscape, with a particular emphasis on the West Midlands.

    As always, the Conference will be supported and enriched by our sponsors and other exhibitors, including Euclid, ITSO, CreditcallCammax, INIT, Parkeon, ESP Group, Smartrac, ACT, Rambus, The Hub Company, Multipass, Vocalink and Burall Infosmart a BBP Company, who will be demonstrating and explaining 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 technology industry (terms apply, see below)


    • Learn from specialist speakers about the emerging strategy and tactics for enhancing the quality and spread of smart transport systems in the West Midlands and throughout the UK, particularly as they relate to the next generation of passengers
    • See demonstrations of the latest smart ticketing and payment products
    • Discover innovative technologies that will revolutionise ticketing, payment and much more
    • Network with the senior transport industry community


    Download TCF17 Agenda

    General theme: Smart Transport for the New Generation

    The conference is planned to include the following main topics, each of which will be supported by a number of short presentations:

    • Session 1 (Day 1 morning)
    • Session theme: Opening addresses and status reports
      • Where are we, and where are we going in the UK?
      • What’s happening outside the UK?
    • Session 2 (Day 1 afternoon)
    • Session theme: Innovative products and projects for tomorrow’s world
      • Account-based ticketing (ABT)
      • Scottish national e-purse
      • ITSO: moving forward for the future of smart ticketing
      • Future ticketing technologies
      • Case studies and other innovations
    • Session 3 (Day 2 morning)
    • Session theme: Developing smart transport systems for the new generation
      • Research results from Transport Focus
      • Feedback from young people
      • Modal shift to other types of public transport
      • Emerging authentication methods
      • Mobility as a Service
      • How shall we pay for using new forms of transport?
      • Pay by Bank
      • Demographics of the future
      • Supplier sessions
    • Session 4 (Day 2 afternoon)
    • Session theme: Are we going in the right direction?
      • Breakout with syndicate groups, addressing:
        • How can schemes and operators make best use of better traveller data?
        • What are the next steps towards ABT and MaaS
        • Consider the smart transit needs of young people and list the top 10 functions, features or applications that you believe would most attract and satisfy them
      • Panel session
      • General debate and Q&A

    Included within the delegate offer will be:

    • 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

    An informal evening cocktail reception, kindly sponsored by Smartrac, will be held in the exhibitor’s room on Monday, 25th September.  

    Smartex is planning its traditional informal dinner, and this will be held after the cocktail reception on Monday, 25th September at San Carlo.  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 passed to Smartex beforehand.  

    If you require overnight accommodation during the event (24th September and/or 25th September), we have reserved rooms at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel, including a range of single and twin rooms varying in price from £121 to £136 pppn (including breakfast).  Officially, the hotel (and will tell you that they are full, so if you would like a room there, please call or Richard Poynder on 01440 712610 or email as soon as possible.

    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 only of attendance, even if both days are attended.  


    • Delegates from 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


    Registration by both members and non-members can be done online here or by email to, indicating:

    • Whether you wish to attend on 25th or 26th September, or on both days
    • Whether or not you intend to join us for dinner on the evening of 25th September


    If you have any questions, please contact Annabel Cartwright at or call +44 1440 712610. 

    If you are considering exhibiting, please contact Lawrence Faulkner at or call + 44 7717 218767.

  • TCF News

    Updated on 12th April 2018

    The mobile is your oyster: the global shift to mobile-based ticketing
    Intelligent Transport
    According to Juniper Research, close to 23 billion transport and event tickets will be purchased globally using mobile handsets by 2020. Within London's transport network alone, there have been over 1 billion contactless journeys completed with Transport for London (TfL) since its launch in 2012 and ...

    iPhones Finally Recognized by Beijing Metro to Pay Subway Fares
    The Beijinger (blog)
    As long awaited as the new iOS update will be to iPhone users, Apple's latest announcement arrives days after the Beijing Metro said it will introduce QR phone code payment in May that will allow commuters to pay fares directly with e-payment systems and rid them of any need for transport cards.

    Exchange chocolate for train tickets with new Chiltern machines
    Oxford Mail
    The new machines are faster and easier to use, with bigger screens and contactless payment facilities. They are also wheelchair accessible with a screen that can be lowered to accommodate wheelchair users. The project is part of Chiltern's 2018 Continuous Improvement Plan, which also includes a ...

    Are you comparing apples with apples?
    Snapper article
    Account-based ticketing and accepting EMV cards in transit are not exactly the same. The transit industry has been flooded with new terms such as EMV, contactless, first tap risk, open-loop and account-based ticketing. Our latest whitepaper unpacks the key terms and their relevance to your strategy, especially when it comes to EMV and account-based ticketing.
    (Worth registering to download and read this treatise on EMV and ABT. Ed.)

    Russia: Domodedovo automates passenger boarding
    Rusavia Insider
    Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport has completed testing of eGate automated gates, which enable passengers to pass pre-flight checks and board the plane themselves. As a result of the trials the technology “has proven efficient,” the airport reports.

    Transport for the North takes up powers
    Construction News
    Mr Johnson said: “With significant new powers enabling TfN to speak with one voice and drive forward crucial projects, such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and smart ticketing, I am confident that TfN will play a pivotal role in delivering the future of northern transport.” Mr Cridland said the move meant that ...

    intu Milton Keynes launches Tap & Go parking
    Milton Keynes Citizen
    Customers parking in the multi-storey car park can simply present their contactless bank or credit card to the sensor pad, park up, enjoy a rush-free ... “Many of us are now used to paying for our shopping, meals or tickets by presenting our contactless card at the checkout, making payment easier and ...

    UK: Cash boost for ScotRail's smartcard customers
    Helensburgh Advertiser
    More than 11,000 ScotRail customers with a live Smartcard season ticket on March 21, 2018 qualified for a share [£89] of £1m. This was the final part of the Scottish Government’s £3m fares fund to reward loyal customers.

    Launch of contactless bus payments on Wee County First Buses
    Alloa Advertiser
    COMMUTERS in the Wee County will benefit from quicker journeys as a result of digital bus tickets, according to MSP Keith Brown. Contactless payment technology on First Buses was introduced recently and now provides a range of ticketing options through its new mobile app. The move aims to ...

    UK: Under-18s in South Yorkshire get smartcard ticket upgrade
    Intelligent Transport
    TravelMaster in South Yorkshire welcomes smarter ticketing by replacing paper tickets with smartcards for members of its GetAbout scheme for 16-18 year old travellers…

    Face recognition, palm-scanning and the energy efficient future of public transport
    The business behind the Oyster cards and contactless payment systems used in London is called Cubic Transportation Systems. Its President, Matt Cole, told CNBC's "Sustainable Energy" that its payments systems helped to increase the efficiency of transit agencies' operations. If public transport ...

    PDMS is awarded Transport Scotland TABO 2 contract to facilitate concessionary travel
    PDMS will be working in partnership with Euclid Ltd who are implementing their Fareshare solution to provide analysis, reporting and enable information to allow re-imbursement on smart journeys, including Scottish National Concessionary Travel Schemes and, optionally, commercial travel. Fareshare is a proven product, already managing the back-office system for the Transport for West Midlands Swift scheme. The new cloud-based solution will be a direct replacement for the existing Transport Scotland TABO system. PDMS, an ITSO certified supplier, will also be providing programme management, data migration, and support services from its offices in Glasgow. The contract is for a four year period, with the possibility of two extensions, each of two years. The contract value for the 4 year period equates to just under £3 million.

    Smart Cards for Lock Passages on River Shannon, Waterways Ireland Rolls Out New Service
    Waterways Ireland is extending its Smart Card system to include lock passages on the River Shannon and Lower Bann. The service will be tested from a technical perspective at Albert Lock on the Shannon and the Cutts Lock on the Lower Bann for a two week period beginning on the 16th of April 2018.
    (Ed. recalls the old Irish smart card lock scheme of 25 years ago.  Plus ca change…)

    Ipswich Buses to launch contactless payments
    East Anglian Daily Times
    Ipswich Buses are launching contactless payment on Sunday.

    Contactless technology brought to Skye bus travel
    The Skye Times
    Mark Whitelocks, Managing Director of Stagecoach North Scotland, said: "Bus travel is experiencing a complete transformation and we are delighted to be able to celebrate this today. We continue to invest in new technology to make it easier than ever to catch the bus. From contactless technology and ...

    Stagecoach launch contactless payment
    Ian Mollison
    Stagecoach has launched a contactless payment service at Aberdeen bus station, with the initiative allowing passengers to pay for their travel with a credit or debit card, as well as Apple Pay and Android Pay. The machines are being installed in more than 350 buses and coaches in the Aberdeen and ...

    ACT launches transformational smart-ticketing environment
    ACT PR
    ACT, a Fujitsu company, has just launched Actora®, a modular smart-ticketing environment which gives 360° visibility and greater control of transport-ticketing operations through a powerful, consolidated, user interface. Gary Watts, CEO, ACT, advised: “This is the most advanced ticketing environment we've built by far. Following an extensive market research and a customer engagement programme, our R and D teams have been designing and building Actora for two years. It will transform how ticketing schemes are deployed and managed.”



  • 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.