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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 12th October 2018

    Paragon ID becomes NXP MIFARE Premium Partner
    Paragon ID
    Paragon ID is pleased to announce that it has been chosen by NXP Semiconductors as a MIFARE Premium Partner , an outstanding recognition of the company’s leading position in ticketing solutions for the Transport and Smart Cities sector which represents 65% of the company’s revenues.

    UK: Bus company launches its own version of London's Oyster card system for passengers in Bucks
    Bucks Free Press
    Carousel Buses says its new travel smartcard called 'The Key' will save passengers time and money. Passengers will be able to pay for their travel in advance by putting credit on the pass online and in travel shops.
    (Wot, no cEMV? Astound-Ed.)

    A Critical Evaluation of ITSO Smart Ticketing policy, practice and outcomes
    Alison Rumbles
    This thesis contributes to the ongoing debate on the future of smart ticketing in the United Kingdom, and in particular the role of ITSO in that future

    UK: Rail passengers to benefit from ‘one-click’ compensation
    The introduction of simple and speedy ‘one-click’ automated claims systems, available via smartphones and smartcard registration, form part of stronger obligations for future train operators under UK government-awarded franchises, ensuring that passengers are more aware than ever of their right to compensation.

    Confidex delivers future-proof Smart Tickets for Glasgow
    Confidex PR
    Confidex was awarded by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), the largest of Scotland’s seven regional transport partnerships, as the supplier of Smart Tickets for Glasgow Subway.

    EU: Northlink Ferries rolls out new mobile ticketing app
    NorthLink Ferries has selected European solutions provider Corethree to roll out its new mobile ticketing app. Previously passengers could book their voyage to the Scottish Northern Isles with NorthLink Ferries via their website, telephone or by visiting one of their offices. However, as of today passengers can use the new app to book tickets, cabins and vehicles on a journey and pay securely through a mobile device.

    Some Yellow Bus fares to go up from Friday
    Bournemouth Echo
    Fares for those who use cash or contactless technology will stay largely the same. But the cost of using smart cards of the app will rise because of the cost to Yellow Buses of using those platforms.
    (Well they have to increase the fares to cover the additional cost of those pesky smart cards that they have been trying to get you to use. Ed.)

    ACT launches automated reimbursement for concessionary journeys
    ACT PR
    ACT, a Fujitsu company, has launched an automated reimbursement service to enable transport authorities to calculate the reimbursement owed to operators quickly and easily, based on smart travel records.

    Stagecoach launches contactless payments for travel across Cumbria and North Lancashire
    The Westmorland Gazette
    BUS passengers using Stagecoach services across Cumbria and North Lancashire can now pay for their travel using contactless technology.

    UK: 5 payment tricks retailers can learn from TfL
    Essential Retail
    When Transport for London (TfL) began offering customers top-up Oyster cards, and later contactless debit cards as payment options, it began a revolution of public transport ticketing which would go on to set standards around the world. Matthew Hudson, head of strategy, technology and data at TfL, describes that journey, which involved a considerable amount of customer data analysis and a stand-off with Apple.

    PM announces £840m transport funding pot for city improvements
    Local authorities in Derby and Nottingham, Leicester, the North East, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent and West Yorkshire have been invited to bid for a share of the funding. The Government say the funding could go towards new bus routes, smart technology aimed at reducing congestion or docking stations for e-bikes.
    (More islands of interoperability on the horizon?  Ed.)

    Are Contactless Multi-Currency Prepaid Cards the New Preferred Travel Card
    Volopa a foreign exchange fintech and London-based payment company is seeking to make travel to multiple countries seamless from a payments ...

    Eftpos wants to tap into contactless transport payments
    Debit card network Eftpos is looking to tap into contactless transport payments to take the fight to its credit cards competitors. The company this week ...

    Easily Migrate your Mobile Ticketing to Masabi
    Masabi PR
    Mobile ticketing has changed the game in terms of being able to quickly deliver fare collection innovation to passengers, but thanks to the maturity, architecture, reliability and robustness of the Justride Platform mobile ticketing can now be made available to passengers in just a handful of days.

    Public transport - Interoperable fare management system - Bluetooth low energy ticketing use cases and guidelines.
    BSI: kindly supplied by Chris Queree
    This technical report is up for the vote (the UK will support it). Of potential interest to TCF members. (Ed.)

    Driving strategy change with a customer-centric approach to ticketing
    Intelligent Transport
    Our retail strategy is focused on developing two main channels, mTickets and contactless, while serving our customers with a subscription-style ticket ...

    Octopus' transport payment monopoly under threat? – 8 in 10 passengers would pay by e-wallet or ...
    South China Morning Post
    Eight out of every 10 public transport users in Hong Kong would use electronic payment systems such as Alipay, WeChat Pay, contactless credit cards ...

    Aircoach to introduce contactless payments on its routes
    Newstalk 106-108 fm
    Transport company Aircoach has become the first bus operator in Ireland to offer contactless pay. Passengers who travel on its routes between Dublin ...

    Translink launches ticketing system for Glider bus network
    ITS International
    Translink has unveiled its future ticketing system at the launch of the Glider bus rapid transit network in Belfast. The technology will allow riders with more flexible options to pay for journeys, the company says.

    First Bus completes national deployment of contactless payments
    Intelligent Transport
    This announcement means First Bus is the first bus operator of its size to offer contactless nationally. Since June 2017 the business has been working ...


    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.