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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

  • 2016 Meetings

    Smartex Forum meetings, whilst planned in advance in terms of overall themes, are designed to cover important topics of the moment, whether technical or operational.

    A number of subject areas have already been identified as being relevant for consideration and debate during 2016.  These are set out below, within each of our Forums.  They are naturally subject to change, depending upon the status of the various market sectors at the time of the meetings.

    The TCF 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 NFC and use of NFC-enabled mobiles for transport applications such as ticketing, boarding cards and payment
    • Monitoring of initiatives and plans for commercial smart ticketing and payment
    • Smart ticketing and payments for rail and bus
    • Developing effective Real-Time-Information systems
    • Overview of smart technology for air and sea travel
    • Exposing relevant technical issues, for example for bus exit reading and ungated train stations
    • Using tokenisation technology to improve security
    • Pay-As-You-Go in urban areas
    • Updates on the progress of the ITSO specification and of ITSO Limited activities
    • Examination of processes required in moving between ITSO versions
    • Contactless card technology relevant to smart ticketing and payment
    • Do UK transport operators really want interoperability?
    • Migration from proprietary smart ticketing to ITSO, or mixing them?
    • Development of costing models for the real price of operating an ITSO scheme
    • How to educate buyers as to the real impact of ITSO and EMV on product development
    • Improving the whole-journey experience with smart technology
    • Assessment of winners and losers in the transport contactless payment arena
    • Case studies from UK LA-controlled and commercial smart transport scheme operators
    • Case studies from overseas smart transport initiatives
    • TCF16: Leeds selected for annual two-day regional conference and exhibition


    Meeting Agendas and Dates

    • For 2016 meeting dates and agendas please click here.

    Transport Card Forum Conference and Exhibition

    26th and 27th September 2017

    Details to be confirmed.


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


    • Learn from expert speakers about the emerging strategy and tactics for enhancing the quality and spread of smart transport systems
    • See demonstrations of modern smart ticketing and payment products
    • Discover the latest technologies that are revolutionising ticketing, payment and much more
    • Network with senior transport industry officials

    CONTACT US If you have any questions, please contact Annabel Cartwright at or call +44 (0)1440 712610.

    If you are considering exhibiting, please contact Lawrence Faulkner at or call + 44 (0)7717 218767

  • Updated on 17th March 2017

    All aboard for smart bus travel: Ed.
    Bus company launches contactless payment system to allow faster boarding
    Get Surrey
    A spokesman for the company said: "Contactless is a fast, easy and secure way to pay for bus travel around Guildford on our buses. It's also smart ...

    Jesmond residents receptive to contactless Metro payment
    Jesmond Local
    The system proposed by OpenLab in their survey involves using contactless debit cards to tap in and out, similar to how payment is taken on the ...

    Lothian Buses Selects Nevis Technologies as Its Smart Ticketing Partner
    Finance Yahoo
    Nevis Technologies today announced that it will deliver its smart ticketing solutions to Lothian Buses, the UK’s largest publicly owned bus company. Nevis Technologies, the joint venture company between Rambus, a leader in smart technology for transportation, and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), Scotland’s largest regional transport partnership, serves as a delivery agent for smart integrated ticketing in Scotland.

    UK: First Bristol wants customers to ditch cash and embrace mobile tickets instead.
    Local bus company First Bristol has been running a campaign to make people aware that some single fares will change from the beginning of April, when single journey fares bought from the driver will go up by 30 pence. For the second time customers can beat the rise by buying their tickets via the company’s smart phone app or its Touch smart card, which won’t be affected. As a result, single tickets bought on mTicket or Touch will be 50 pence cheaper compared to tickets bought from the driver.

    Gemalto and IER create the complete self-service airport experience for travellers Gemalto Gemalto and IER Fly to Gate answers the growing need for​ a self-service experience that takes travellers smoothly from their home to the departure gate.

    UK: 50 Million Hopper Journeys On London Buses
    Six months after its launch, the Mayor of London’s ‘Hopper’ bus fare is expected to hit its 50 millionth journey this week, new figures from Transport for London (TfL) show.

    What is ‘Open Loop’ ticketing?
    Masabi Blog
    The term ‘Open Loop’ references the fact that the ticketing system leverages existing open ‘tokens’ and processes that are not proprietary to the transport network in question.

    Apple Pay and contactless introduced at Surrey Heath's car parks
    Get Surrey
    Well, motorists in Surrey Heath will now be able to make Apple Pay and contactless payments at all multi-storey car parks, Surrey Heath Borough ...

    All change as contactless is fitted on buses
    Oldham Chronicle
    As well as paying via contactless credit and debit cards, customers can also use Apple Pay and Android Pay to buy their ticket from the driver.

    Smart ticketing available on Midland services by end of 2018
    Rail Technology Magazine
    The government will work with Midlands Connect and its partners, including Transport for West Midlands, to consider how smart ticketing can be ...

    UK: Contactless payment for Stagecoach customers in Manchester
    Eurotransport Magazine
    Stagecoach Manchester has become the first bus operator in the region to offer customers the option to pay for their travel via contactless payments.

    'Smart' doesn't just belong to cars and phones: now even buses are redefining smart-thinking cities ...
    Information Age
    Smart technology has a critical role to play here to ensure cities of the future are as efficient and sustainable as possible. From the Internet of Things, ...

    This item appeared in Smartexpress on 3rd March.
    Half a million rail passengers 'could miss Southern payout'
    Evening Standard
    An analysis of TfL data estimates that around 590,000 passengers will not qualify for the payout because they bought their tickets using contactless or ...
    (Ed. has been informed that a subsequent BBC News item repudiated this: see “
    Labour admit Southern rail compensation blunder ”)

    Transport Technology Guide launched to help local authorities
    Digital by Default News
    Guide explains how technology can aid delivery of a range of policy objectives

    Half a million rail passengers 'could miss Southern payout'
    Evening Standard
    An analysis of TfL data estimates that around 590,000 passengers will not qualify for the payout because they bought their tickets using contactless or ...

    Riding the rails: Chicago's route to a cardless transit payment system
    In 2013, it launched the Ventra card, a digital account-based contactless card for subways and buses. Customers could tap a Ventra card to pay for ...







































  • Ten Reasons to Join Smartex

    • How much of retail and transport services will contactless EMV penetrate, and when?
    • How will the explosive growth of IoT affect our market, and will it be MNO-led?
    • Smart cards could soon be superseded by mobile NFC: but how and when?
    • Could alternatives to NFC, such as 2D Barcodes, BLE or iBeacon become dominant?
    • Why is there no clear national strategy for commercial public transport payment systems?
    • Will the new breed of challenger banks threaten existing schemes and banks?
    • Who will win in the emerging micropayment, e-payment, prepaid and m-payment worlds?
    • Who will win the m-wallet wars, and is there really a future for m-wallets?
    • Will smart ticketing and payment interoperability give ITSO a true national role in public transport?
    • Will smart campus schemes migrate to NFC or adopt biometrics?

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

    Be part of the largest network of smart associations in the world.

    Since 1993, 530 of our sector-specific meetings have attracted some 16,750 delegate-days of attendance, with over 1,900 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.  From 2017 we are widening the scope of our Near Field Club to include eID and its relationship with mobiles, and will rebrand this as MIDAS (Mobile ID Association).

    During 2016, some 550 different individuals attended our 21 meetings, representing 298 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 full-day attendances and a wide range of other useful services - which makes £950+ 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:

    Smart Card Club

    Transport Card Forum


    Smart Payments Forum

    Near Field Club

    Internet of Things Association

    Delegates' Area

    Delegates have access to presentations from the latest Smartex meeting.

    Delegate Presentations

  • WG26: Interoperability - the customer requirements and the commercial opportunity

    February 2015: this new Working Group seeks further volunteers to join it and to assist in developing the work packages to be included within its report.

    To view the draft of the terms of reference and proposed content for WG26, click here