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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 17th August 2018

    UK: Yellow Buses Invests In New Contactless Ticketer Technology
    Dorset Chamber
    New Electronic Ticket Machines (ETMs) have been installed in the bus company’s 150-vehicle fleet. The machines, supplied by Ticketer, allow customers to pay for their travel in the most convenient way for them.

    Industry pledges to cut rail jargon to avoid ticket confusion
    Railway Technology
    Among the proposed solutions are smart-ticketing, providing clearer information about peak and off-peak fares, as well as door-to-door ticketing.

    Prentice Coaches going contactless
    East Lothian Courier
    CONTACTLESS payment could be rolled out across Prentice Coaches by the end of the month. The Haddington-based firm launched the contactless ...

    Public Transport & The SMART Ticketing Revolution
    As the Government continues to encourage more of us to switch to public transport the pressure on transport operators has never been greater.

    Fare collection self-assessment guide
    Over the past six months Snapper has have been investigating the pros and cons of account-based ticketing (ABT). We brought you insights from early adopters, then we worked with APSCA and industry experts to explore some of the common misconceptions around EMV in ABT . For the third part in this series, we provide a self-assessment guide and template calculator to help prepare for the shift to account-based ticketing.

    Contactless card payments on bus and tram network to be introduced next year
    Nottinghamshire Live
    Bus and tram users will be able to pay their fares using contactless bank cards or smartphones by next year. A plan to introduce contactless payments ...

    UK: Train and bus are less fuss on Smartcard
    Dunfermline Press
    TRAVEL in Dunfermline is going to get a lot smarter with the introduction of combined rail and bus travel tickets. ScotRail and Stagecoach have worked together to ensure that PlusBus tickets can now be stored on ScotRail Smartcards. It means passengers can use just one card for trains and buses.
    (Hush my beating heart.  Can this be true?  A proper, multi-modal smart card for both train and bus travel?  Quick, someone tell Grayling, because England can’t manage it.  Thrill-Ed.)

    All First Manchester buses will accept contactless payments by October 2018
    Intelligent Transport
    Accepting contactless payments demonstrates First Manchester's dedication in providing easy travel experiences to encourage the use of public ...

    Transport Committee could investigate smart ticketing failures
    Transport Network (press release) (blog)
    Parliament's Transport Committee is set to challenge ministers on their apparent failure to make good on pledges to deliver smart ticketing, which has ...

    For the first time, contactless payments are offered on East Lothian bus
    Intelligent Transport
    Ticketer has enabled Prentice of Haddington to be the first bus operator to offer contactless payments to passengers in East Lothian, Scotland.

    US: HID Global Improves Automated Fare Collection for Public Transportation with the World’s First Calypso Light Application-certified Solution
    HID Global
    HID Global®, a worldwide leader in trusted identity solutions, today announced that HID is the world’s first ticketing solution provider to be certified to deliver more secure, lower cost, faster contactless tickets based on an open standard called Calypso Light Application (CLAP).

    Smart ticketing firm expands contactless payments business
    Humber Business
    HULL smart ticketing specialist Paragon ID has expanded as it takes a majority shareholding in Irish company AmaTech Group. The deal means ...

    Brisbane becomes the latest city to deploy Transport for Londons contactless fares system
    Movacabtaxi Weekly
    Department of Transport to provide a new ticketing system for the state. Cubic has a licensing arrangement with Transportation for London which enables it to deploy essential parts of the back workplace code, including fare computation and customer accounts, established in-house by TfL for its own contactless bus, Tube and Overground ticketing system

    Transport Systems Catapult Update
    TSC PR
    We are half way through the year and there's still so much to tell you about. We are currently holding a free exhibition with the National Infrastructure Commission displaying entries from their 'Connecting for the Future' competition. We are also taking applications for our second IM Accelerator Cohort, with our new partners Stagecoach and Hyundai.
    (HTFP!  Ed.)

    Smart technology has preserved the UK railway's safety record
    Global Railway Review
    Smart use of data and technology is helping to protect and enhance Britain's excellent rail safety record, according to rail safety body, RSSB… safety.

    UK's West Midlands seeks to cap fares paid by contactless card
    TfWM, which stepped up in June to offer contactless card payments across its bus service, is looking at how to provide a smart ticketing system to ensure that contactless card users get the best rate on a journey, regardless of which mode of transport the customer opts for.

    Paris says 'au revoir' to metro ticket, ushers in contactless payment
    The Parisian metro is to phase out its emblematic rectangular paper ticket and introduce a contactless payment method, the city's transport authorities ...

    Contactless and smart card problems on Arriva North East bus services
    The Northern Echo
    ARRIVA North East is experiencing problems on its bus services today. A spokesman for the company posted on Facebook: "Unfortunately due to a technical issue beyond our control we are currently unable to accept payment by contactless or top up smart cards, please bear with us while we attempt to resolve the situation, apologies for any inconvenience."
    (Do you think that “please bear with us” means free bus rides.  Ed. thinks not.)


    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, Cammax, Creditcall, ESP Group, FairtiqFlowbird, Hammock, INIT, Paragon ID, Rambus, The 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


    General theme: Smart transport technology on the move
    TCF18 is planned to include the following main subject areas, each of which will be supported by a number of short presentations:

    Tuesday, 25th September 2018

    Arrivals, registration and exhibition 

    • Session 1: Opening statements
      • Opening addresses
      • Update from TfGM
    • Session 2: Smart fare structures on the move
      • Rail ticketing structures
      • Bus ticketing structures: how are different operators handling singles, returns, day/week passes, PAYG?

    Break and exhibition 

    • Session 3: Payments options on the move
      • Card schemes vs. Apple/Amazon/Google
      • White label EMV

    Lunch and exhibition

    • Session 4: Government on the move
      • Central Government update
      • Regional updates: including cross-regional interoperability

    Break and exhibition

    • Session 5: Case studies
      • Trams
      • Bus
      • Rail

    Cocktail reception

    Dinner at a leading Manchester restaurant

     Wednesday, 26th September 2018

    Arrivals and exhibition

    • Session 6: Technology on the move
      • MaaS
      • ABT
      • HCE
      • Biometrics
      • Wearables
      • Beacons
      • 5G
      • Elliptic curve

    Break and exhibition

    • Session 7: Adding value on the move
      • The last mile: Urban feeder services
      • Journey planning
      • Uber vs. buses
      • Paperless travel: death of the ticket?
      • Monetising transport data
      • How Barcoding can unlock Mobility as a Service

    Lunch and exhibition

    • Session 8: TCF WG updates
      • Updates from our three new TCF Working Groups
    • Session 9: Syndicate breakout sessions and feedback
      • Round table break-out topics t.b.c.

    Break and exhibition close

    • Session 10: Case studies
      • Overseas: multi-modal transit systems in Europe
      • UK: experiences to date and visions for the future


    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.