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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 22nd June 2018

    London Underground upgrades to new RFID solution
    SecurityWorldMarket Global
    As part of a major project to upgrad the facilities of the London Underground, Tagmaster has received a significant order for its new RFID Railtag. The upgrade is an essential part of Transport for Londons effort to cope with the capitals population growth by a projected 1-2 million people over the next 15 years.

    Cubic to build Queensland's AU$371m transport ticketing system
    NSW extends contactless travel to American Express cardholders ... Contactless credit cards that utilise biometrics, like one recently launched by ...

    IoT solutions will save energy and optimise public transport performance
    Intelligent Transport
    Internet of Things solutions will gather necessary data which will be analysed to optimise operational performance within public transport operations…

    Beijing metro plans biometric payments at turnstiles
    Planet Biometrics
    Beijing subway system plans to introduce biometric solutions at stations this year to improve transport efficiency and reduce costs, a senior manager said last week.

    UK Travel Tips: Giffgaff for Cellular and Apple Pay for Transit
    Two other bits of technology made the trip significantly easier and cheaper: Giffgaff and Apple Pay. The oddly named Giffgaff is a Mobile Virtual ...

    Govia Thameslink Railway CEO resigns following travel chaos
    Bdaily National
    Transport firm Go-Ahead Group plc has announced the resignation of the CEO of its Govia Thameslink Railway business. Chief exec Charles Horton tendered his resignation in the

    SMART Ticketing Trainer
    FirstGroup UK Careers
    SMART Ticketing Trainer - 12 Months (7383). Who we are: GWR is the proud custodian of one of the most prestigious railway networks in the world.
    (Ed. understands that the ex-Govia CEO might be applying…)

    Transport for London BYOD scheme accredits more than 3500 staff devices
    A report from think tank Parliament Street reveals that, in the 2016/17 year, TfL had 816 staff devices registered under its BYOD policy, according to ...

    Rail fares – superficial debate and soundbite solutions
    Richard Rowson, F17 Limited 
    I’ve been selling train tickets for most of the last 20 years, and lost count of the amount of first hand customer feedback I’ve had in that time. I’ve also undertaken consultancy work looking at alternative ways of pricing train travel – so it’s a topic I feel compelled to opine upon.

    Queensland Budget 2018: Go Card to be replaced by mobile app
    Courier Mail
    PUBLIC transport ticketing is set to be revolutionised with commuters able to pay for their trips from a range of smart devices in an attempt to lessen the ...

    Smart Ticketing and the Transport (Scotland) Bill
    Transport Scotland
    The Transport (Scotland) Bill will strengthen compatible smart ticketing technology across operators and modes, and set in place an advisory body to ...

    UK: Transport for the North plans for smart ticketing
    A consortium of transport bodies operating in the north of England has taken step in the creation of a smart ticketing system in looking for a partner to process transactions in a contract worth an estimated £15 million.

    Contactless payment fully rolled out on to National Express West Midlands buses
    Black Country Radio
    After decades of only accepting exact change, every one of the bus company's fleet is now equipped to take contactless payment alongside cash and ...

    …and just when you thought you’d sorted your GDPR stuff out (Ed.):

    5 Minutes With… Craig Ellis, chief technology officer at the Go-Ahead Group.
    SmartRail World
    "One of the key projects we are working very on right now is enabling smart card payment across our franchises – much like Transport for London's ...

    Metrolink bosses are planning to bring in London transport style fare zones from next year
    Manchester Evening News
    The move, due to be introduced in early 2019, goes hand-in-hand with the introduction of contactless payments - due to start this summer - and daily ...

    TfL takes over Heathrow Connect services in Elizabeth line milestone
    Rail Technology Magazine
    “Customers will see staff at every station and will be able to use Oyster and contactless payments all the way to the airport.” Rail minister Jo Johnson ...

    TfL to add contactless journey and fare history to smartphone app
    Ahead of the update, TfL is urging all contactless users without an account to sign up at and get 'app-ready'. They can then ...
    (Wot, no Oyster? We should be told of this raw deal. Ed.)

    Introducing RideBank™ - account-based ticketing in the cloud
    Snapper PR
    RideBank™ has been designed to solve the most common obstacles facing card-based systems: to remove the friction of topping up a card, and to provide passengers with a modern online and mobile experience. RideBank™ gives you that, and more! The unique aspect of RideBank™ is that it is a software-only solution and is completely agnostic to equipment. This means you can run RideBank™ alongside whatever AFC system you are currently operating, without disruption and without requiring a change to new equipment.

    CIPURSE Specification Chosen for Fare Collection Solution in ...
    Global Banking And Finance Review (press release)-3 Jun 2018
    CIPURSE Specification Chosen for Fare Collection Solution in Moscow's Innovation Hub ... fare collection solution trial across Moscow's Skolkovo bus route. ... district and the city's famed start-up and innovation hub, Skolkovo.

    UK: TfL confirms tram network will go ticketless from July 16
    [Croydon] TfL justified its decision by claiming that just 66 paper single tickets are sold per day across entire tram network. A paper ticket bought from a ticket machine costs £2.60 whereas the equivalent pay-as-you-go single fare with Oyster or a contactless bank card is £1.50. Passengers using pay-as-you-go also have access to the Mayor’s Hopper fare, which gives a second tram or bus journey for free within one hour of touching in on the first tram or bus journey.

    [TENDER] Transport for the North - IST Programme - Merchant Acquirer
    IST Mailbox (kindly submitted by Kevin Farquharson)
    TfN is working in partnership with transport Operators, Local Transport Authorities and the Department of Transport on its Integrated and Smart Travel Programme to deliver a multi-operator, multi-modal account-based ticketing solution. Central to the programme’s proposition is the Account-Based Back Office for Travel (ABBOT), a shared ‘back office’ to be used by third-party operators which will collect information on all trips (across multiple operators and transport modes initially in the North of England with the realistic potential to grow to a United Kingdom wide scope excluding London). The scope of this procurement is to appoint a Merchant Acquirer for ABBOT for the acceptance of contactless bank cards or similar form of payment for integrated ticketing. Particular focus in this procurement will be on the management and minimisation of declined transactions to minimise this element of the cost of sale of this retail channel as well as commercially attractive low transaction fees.

    Oxford bus passengers embrace contactless payments
    Oxford Mail
    Both bus companies will introduce the next stage of its contactless technology this year by adding 'intelligent fare calculation', which will work out the ...

    'Revolutionary' city travel app which could make private car ownership obsolete hailed at Dundee ...
    The Courier
    It's happening right here, whether it's autonomous vehicles, smart ticketing or contactless demand-responsive transport mobility as a service.

    UK transport industry welcomes smart ticketing and fares consultation
    Intelligent Transport
    The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has announced a new consultation process regarding the delivery of the Smart Ticketing on National Rail (STNR) ...

    Contactless payments introduced on Stagecoach buses in North East Lincolnshire
    Grimsby Telegraph
    Forget scrabbling around for change at the bus stop - passengers on Stagecoach buses can now pay with the touch of a card thanks to contactless ...

    TfL names head of new consulting arm as it eyes millions in revenue by working on transport ...
    City A.M.
    It will also look to share its expertise on the development of integrated control centres, and fares and ticketing systems, with Oyster and contactless ...

    EU agrees proposal for travel information body
    Security Document World
    EU ambassadors have confirmed an agreement reached between the Council Presidency and the European Parliament representatives on the proposal for a European travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS).

    Toronto Transit Pursues Mobile Fares
    Mobile ID World
    Passengers in North America's fourth biggest transit system may be able to pay their fares with their phones in the near future thanks to Toronto Transit Commission support for platforms like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Hints of such functionality emerged this week via Metrolinx, the agency that ...

    Urban Airship Powers Real-Time Mobile Wallet Tickets and Boarding Passes with Google Pay
    GlobeNewswire (press release)
    Unlike paper tickets or emailed boarding passes, these mobile wallet tickets unlock new levels of convenience for travelers, with real-time updates (like departure time changes) sent to the lockscreen and personalized one-to-one messaging within the card. Urban Airship sends real-time updates on ...

    Digital Transformation York takes high-tech approach to tackling congestion
    Digital by Default News
    In the first of two Department for Transport projects which could change the way traffic is managed in the UK, the council has installed special sensors on a notoriously busy stretch of the A59. These will pick up anonymous (‘hashed’) mobile phone signals and data from ‘connected’ cars.

    Rail industry prepares for season ticket cull in fares shake-up
    The Guardian
    Rail firms claim these restrictions make it impractical to offer more flexible “smart ticketing”, such as those implemented on the London Underground, ...
    (And about time too. But don’t hold your breath: Ed.)

    Visa and TransLink partner to drive contactless payments in Canada
    Visa's Canadian subsidiary has partnered with TransLink to launch its Global Transit Solutions programme in the country to bring convenient 'tap and pay' approach to passengers. From 22 May 2018, all types of mass transit operators will be able to leverage the programme to add contactless credit card ...

    ABT, M-Ticketing, EMV: the top trends in transport ticketing
    Payments Cards & Mobile
    … let’s take a closer look at the front-running trends in the next-generation ticketing race, the benefits and challenges of implementation, and the key considerations players in the transport market need to guarantee a successful project.





    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, Flowbird, Hammock, INIT, Paragon ID, Rambus, Smartran, The Hub Company, 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. 


    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.