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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.
  • 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 23rd February 2018

    No cash? No worries as Uno Buses launch new contactless service
    Northampton Chronicle and Echo
    Uno Buses, along with the University of Northampton, officially launched contactless payments across all their bus services. ... Contactless will be live on both the Violet 19 service and route 21 from Tuesday, February 20. ... The new contactless payments have been described as 'the icing on the cake'.

    Buses to be upgraded with smart ticketing system
    Shetland News
    They are also looking to secure funding to fully roll-out a similar smart ticketing system on the council's inter-island ferries. A report discussed at Wednesday's ZetTrans meeting says the new "hardware provides the capability to introduce various payment methods, including debit and credit cards, as well ...

    UK: First Bus bring in contactless payment - to make journeys quicker
    First Bus said all 116 of its vehicles operating in and around North Staffordshire have been fitted with the new technology.

    UK: ScotRail launches £1million reward fund for Smartcard customers
    Dunfermline Press
    (A wee bit of bribery then? Ed.)

    From Beacons to Biometrics: Get Ready for the Connected Airport Experience
    Adobe Blog
    Beacons, mobile apps, and facial recognition technology are creating a connected airport experience that allows brands to reach and engage more customers.

    NFC Forum Releases 'Accelerating Smart Travel' Infographic
    NFC Forum
    The NFC Forum’s Transport Special Interest Group have led this effort to harmonize standards and specifications for interoperable e-ticketing solutions in public transportation for the past few years. The infographic continues the theme, showing how a single, seamless NFC-enabled integrated platform delivers multiple benefits to public transport, including reducing traffic,…

    A Critical Evaluation of ITSO Smart Ticketing policy, practice and outcomes
    Pearl - Plymouth University
    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. Through evaluation of commentary from prominent elite personnel connected with the transport industry and from local and national government ...
    (You can download the full report by clicking on ‘Thesis – full version’ under the View/Open heading on the left. Ed.)

    How Long Does The Oyster Card Have Left?
    The Oyster card launched in June 2003, making it nearly 15 years old . Back then it was the only alternative to paper tickets. In the intervening years a new option arose, contactless payments, which some believe is the future of London transport's ticketing. It's the same simple motion as Oyster — a tap ...

    Contactless ticket machines coming to Oxford Parkway as part of £2m upgrade plan
    Oxford Mail
    NEW ticket machines will be installed at Oxford Parkway, Bicester Village and Banbury stations as part of a £2m upgrade. The machines will have bigger screens, contactless payment facilities and be wheelchair accessible with a screen that can be lowered. The technology is already in place at London ...

    UK: Go-Ahead introduces new tap-free bus ticketing system
    Intelligent Transport
    The Go-Ahead Group, alongside a team of technology experts, has created a pioneering system that offers customer a new form of tap-free contactless ticketing. Passengers use the app to initiate their journey as the bus arrives and show their activated pass to the driver. The state-of-the-art system allows passengers to simply link a bank account with the HOPSTA app where they are automatically charged the lowest fare for their journey on departure of the bus, thanks to terminals called iBeacons which connect to mobile signals on a phone.
    (At last things are getting really interesting. Go, Go, Go-Ahead! Ed.)

    Biometric facial technology at airports: limits, but moving ahead, with President Trump's support
    CAPA - Centre for Aviation
    There are particular benefits to this technology. Other biometrics like fingerprints, iris scans, and speech recognition cannot perform this kind of mass identification. And questions have been raised on the effectiveness of face recognition software in cases of railway and airport security. For example, as ...
    (The GDPR boys might not be happy at an EU version.  Involuntary biometric measurement of innocent people? Really? Ed.)

    Parking in a cashless society slowly evolving in Cornwall
    Standard Freeholder
    To use the app, the user puts their car's licence plate number into the app and can pay for however much parking time they want through the app using a credit card, a Visa debit card, PayPal, ApplePay or Masterpass. Bylaw officers have a real-time list of licence plate numbers that have paid, so they ...

    Making MaaS work: overcoming the issue of governance
    Intelligent Transport
    Public transport has been talking about multimodal smart ticketing for decades. While some have managed to get multimodality to work in cities, very few are multimodal on a national scale. The Netherlands and Denmark are two examples that have managed to be successful nationally, with ...

    Transport for the North boss hits back at criticism and sets out vision to transform the region
    Among the plans for the North East are to connect it to Northern Powerhouse Rail, an improvement strategy which will link the region's largest cities and eventually see train journeys between Newcastle and Liverpool cut from well over three hours down to two. A smart-ticketing system for the North, ...

    EXCLUSIVE: The rollout of contactless ticketing in Europe
    Metro Magazine
    The world of transport continues its unprecedented rate of turbulence and change. This includes new business models, services, and globalization of ideas. Meanwhile, the basics of providing a reliable, safe, and efficient daily transport system in our communities is even more important to defend existing investments and allow our communities to function and prosper.

    Visa Furthers the Development of Contactless Fare Collection (press release) (blog)
    The Global Transit Solutions allow the accelerated use of debit, credit and pre-paid accounts at the faregate or on a bus reader. Increased accessibility and ease for riders to purchase their tickets has the ability to attract riders and increase ridership. Contactless payments like the Global Transit Solutions ...

    Enabling account-based ticketing (ABT) - read the latest eBook from OSPT Alliance
    iseepr for OSPT Alliance
    Industry buzz has been growing surrounding account-based ticketing (ABT). Offering a more seamless passenger experience, the capacity to cut costs, simplify maintenance logistics and improve security, ABT could offer a way to super-charge ticketing solutions and promote a better travelling experience. But to fully realize the benefits of ABT, there needs to be a change in industry approach. In this eBook, we’ll be exploring the benefits of implementing ABT functionality…

    UK railway news round-up
    Railway Gazette International
    Until now passengers delayed for 15 min were eligible for compensation at a flat-rate of £0·39 if using the c2c smart card, but no compensation if using paper tickets. On February 2 Fareham Borough Council said a feasibility study commissioned from Network Rail in November had suggested that a ...

    Rush hour panic for London commuters as TFL machines decline hundreds of contactless ...
    Daily Mail
    Hundreds of commuters suffered disruption to their journeys this morning after Transport for London machines stopped accepting Apple Pay. Frustrated punters trying to catch buses and Tubes took to Twitter to complain that their payment method had been rejected - leaving some at a loss what to do.

    Passenger Name Records: the challenges of identification and authentication
    Processing of "passenger data" will be a major project of the coming years, but it will require the implementation of high-performance infrastructure, in particular to authenticate individuals and check the integrity of travel documents. The challenge is considerable as governments are also now interested in a PNR for maritime and international land transport.

    Row as Virgin is given year long extension for West Coast train service
    Lancashire Evening Post
    Virgins said it is investing £7.5m, refitting all 56 pendolinos, contactless payment on ticket machines, station investment, more apprenticeships, more staff at peak times and better customer information. Phil Whittingham, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on the West Coast said: “Virgin Trains has led the ...

    Edinburgh Trams sees huge shift to contactless payment (Intelligent Transport)
    London Reconnections
    Journeys on Edinburgh Trams increased by 19 per cent from 2016 to 2017, reaching 6.6 million, leading to the company embracing new technology to meet the demands of its rising number of customers… Within two weeks of the launch of contactless payment ticketing at Edinburgh Trams, 50 per cent ...

    Driving change in the bus industry with smarter ticketing and payments
    Intelligent Transport
    Smarter ticketing drives changes within the bus industry. The introduction of contactless payments alongside our success with mobile ticketing is pivotal and the use of mTickets is exceeding our expectations, continuing to grow daily. We are seeing customers adopting contactless payments with the ...



  • 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.