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  • TCF

    The 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 TCF” Mel Pashley, Ecebs “The TCF 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

  • 2019 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 and the devolved administrations 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
    • Smart and mobile ticketing and payment on National Rail
    • Exposing relevant technical issues and proposed solutions, for example for bus exit reading & ungated train stations
    • Using tokenisation technology to improve security
    • Pay-As-You-Go in urban areas – multi modal, multi operator, capping
    • 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, why and what of TfN, and its interaction with 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?
    • QR code deployment is growing, especially in Rail – what is their future role?
    • Case studies from UK LA-controlled and commercial smart transport scheme operators
    • Case studies from overseas smart transport initiatives
    • What do different groups of passengers want?
    • Inclusion of “adjacent modes”: parking, taxi, bike hire, Demand Responsive Transport
    • The impact of good deployment and staff training
    • Commercial exploitation of transport data
    • The ongoing impact of changes in legislation and regulation
    • Ridership trends and strategies/tactics to address
    • The fate of small operators
    • Relevant global macro trends in transport
    • Impact of “disruptive players”: Google, Amazon, Apple…
    • TCF19: Bristol is the location for our annual two-day regional conference & exhibition


    Meeting Agendas and Dates

    • For 2019 meeting dates and agendas please click here.

    The TCF annual two-day Conference & Exhibition

    The journey to integrated mobility

    24th & 25th September 2019

    Marriott Royal Hotel, College Green, Bristol

    Kindly supported by Smart Applications Management

    Following last September’s record-breaking conference in Manchester, we are delighted to announce TCF19, which this time will have as its main theme 'Making technology meet travellers' needs'.

    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.

    This year we shall also be running an in-depth Masterclass on Monday 23rd September 2019, at the event venue.  This will appeal to those wishing to benefit from a highly interactive day with specialists who will explain the range of smart transport operations, applications and products relevant to the traveller of the future.  There will be a charge for attendance at this Masterclass, with discounted rates for Smartex members.  For more details please visit Smart Transport Masterclass.


    • 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


    Click on the link to view the TCF19 Event Agenda


    TCF19 will be supported and enriched by our sponsors and other exhibitors, so far including UrbanThings (Lead sponsor), ACT a Fujitsu Company, Cammax, Elatec, Euclid, FAIRTIQ, Flowbird Transport, INIT Innovations in Transportation, ITSO, NMI, Paragon ID, Rambus, The ESP Group, The Hub Company, Transmach and Smartran 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.

    If your organisation is interested in supporting TCF19 as an exhibitor, please contact Annabel Cartwright on 07785 254405 or  To book your place please complete the Sponsorship Booking Form


    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 24th September
    • Attendance at our Masterclass on 23rd September


    Our informal evening cocktail reception will be held in the exhibition room on Tuesday, 24th September.


    We are planning our traditional annual dinner, and this will be held after the cocktail reception on Tuesday, 24th 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 TCF19 (and at the Smart Transport Masterclass) may reserve overnight accommodation at the event location, the Marriott Royal Hotel, at a discounted rate of £134/room/B&B.  To secure this rate, please either follow the Smartex Overnight Accommodation Booking link or call 0800 221222 and quote SMARTEX.

    Other nearby hotels, at a variety of rates between about £90 and £140 per night, are:

    • Radisson Blu
    • Hotel Ibis (Bristol Central)
    • Travelodge (Bristol Central)
    • Premier Inn (Finzels Reach)

    We suggest using to make reservations at any of these.


    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 TCF19  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.

  • TCF News

    Updated on 7th August 2020

    Cambridgeshire and Peterborough backs SPV for metro scheme
    Transport Network
    Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has agreed to form an arm's length body to take forward the delivery of the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM).

    Conduent Transportation Completes Implementation of First Phase of Next-Generation Fare ... [Belgium]
    PR Newswire UK
    "In light of COVID-19 and health concerns, contactless fare collection ... a device or other media, such as a smartphone or smart card, but in the cloud.

    New Ticket Machines and Smartcards for Transport for Wales
    Business News Wales
    Smart cards can be used to buy weekly, monthly and annual season tickets. Supporting this change, platform validators have also been installed at ...

    Turkey's smart transport plan features single card for nationwide mass transit
    Daily Sabah
    The Turkish Presidency issued a new decree on Wednesday for the implementation of a smart transportation system across the country. The decree ...

    City Red Introduces Fuss-free Contactless 'Tap & Cap' Payments in Southampton and Launches ...
    First Bus
    City Red also brings its customers Express Mode for Apple Pay, offering an alternative, quicker and easier way to avoid paying by cash for bus ...

    Train firms now part of public sector, ONS says
    Transport Network
    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reclassified train companies operating under emergency measures agreements (EMAs) as part of the public sector.

    Can any ITSO smartcard be used to purchase any ticket in the UK?
    RailUK Forums
    Just a quick question regarding smartcards. Can any ITSO smartcard be used to buy any ticket? Or do you still need a separate smartcard for every ...

    Transport after the first Covid-wave: what customers want now and how to respond
    In the fourth article in Atkins’ “Reopen, recover, reimagine” series of articles; Felicity Heathcote-Marcz writes about the impact of the virus on our travel behaviours and looks at the wider implications for the way we travel. Felicity is a Senior Consultant in the Transportation business in Atkins and is a trained ethnographer, specialising in providing rigorous research to technical and customer/user focussed client projects.

    Will autonomous vehicles change our experiences of streets for better, or worse?
    In case you hadn’t noticed, driverless cars are not going to be neatly delivering us about the city any time soon (despite many claims to the contrary). But while city streets respond to sudden pressures of social distancing, the technology continues to develop, carving out operational niches from which to expand – driverless shuttles in retirement villages, delivery bots in selected suburbs, and autopilot features for driving on congested highways.

    Bringing payments and transport together in harmony
    Transit systems have come a long way since the days when only cash could be utilised on bus and trains. Today, there are a range of payment options available to travellers, including paper, magnetic tickets and cards, smartcards, mobile tickets, open loop cars and Mobility as a Service (MAAS). By Venceslas Cartier, Global Head of Transportation & Smart Mobility at Ingenico Enterprise Retail

    UK Gov comes up with £200,000 plan to fix railway not spots
    The UK Department of Transport has announced a £200,000 research programme to create a new type of radio antenna designed for clipping onto existing rail infrastructure.

    Facial Biometric Corridor on Eurostar routes to avert deepfakes crime
    The biometric corridor, which has been called the “future of rail travel” is scheduled to be in live operation by March 31, 2021, on Eurostar railway networks with St Pancras International as its heart centre. The software which facilitates the facial biometric check has been developed by iProov, a company founded in 2011 with a track record of assisting banks, including the ING in the Netherlands, and governments to meet their Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations

    TfL's future up for grabs in government review
    Transport Network
    The independence and financial future of Transport for London could be on the line, after the government announced a wide-ranging review of the transport authority's finances and structure.

    Visa brings the convenience of contactless payments to public transport
    LIT Transit
    Contactless transit payments quick fire Q&A with Melvin Andrews Joseph of Visa. Did you join our recent webinar GO CONTACTLESS: Keep your ...

    Huntingdon and St Neots rail stations undergoing deep-clean Covid-19 virus treatment
    Hunts Post
    It has also updated its “Key” smartcard so customers can buy season tickets on their phone and load them on to their card, avoiding ticket machines ...

    Government announces £200k investment in railway mobile connectivity research
    The government has today announced a £200k investment in research that will boost mobile connectivity for rail passengers. Transport secretary Grant Shapps revealed this morning that a £200k government investment will launch research into developing a prototype that could signal the end of internet blackouts leading to more productive rail journeys.

    TfN out in the cold as DfT sets up Northern Transport Council
    The government this week announced the creation of a Northern Transport Acceleration Council to fast-track transport projects across the region, in what is being seen as a snub to Transport for the North (TfN).

    Transport for the South East bids for statutory status
    Transport Network
    Transport for the South East has submitted a bid to become the second statutory sub-national transport body with direct influence over government decision-making.

    New Ticketer system brings Contactless and Passenger Counting to Warrington's Own Buses
    Gary Skentelbery
    We will have contactless card and mobile phone payments across our entire fleet, which can only be good news.” Drivers and passengers alike, will also ...

    Australian biometric ID launched for travelers
    A new Australian biometric ID system has gone live, designed to support visa and border processing and bring more efficiency to international travel.

    UK: Contactless payment now available on all Warrington's Own Buses
    Warrington Guardian
    Warrington's Own Buses have upgraded their ticket machines across the whole fleet so that contactless payments can now be made on all routes. With support from Merseytravel, passengers have been issued new ITSO smart cards so they can continue to travel as before, with no interruption to their journey across the Warrington and Liverpool City Region boundaries.

    NEC partners with SITA for touchless airport biometrics, celebrates 121 years of innovation
    Biometric Update
    NEC has deployed more than 1,000 systems with biometric fingerprint and face recognition technologies in 70 countries, in fields ranging from criminal ...

    Visa is rolling out contactless payments on public transport in 500 cities as the pandemic-driven ...
    Business Insider
    The payment-solutions company is launching contactless Visa-branded cards with Cubic Transportation Systems in cities including London, Miami, New ...

    You may never need to touch a parking pay station again, thanks to 'scan-to-park' from Nedbank ... [SA]
    Scan-to-park allows anyone with a Masterpass-enabled QR code scanning banking app or digital wallet to scan their parking ticket and make instant ...

  • Ten Reasons to Join Smartex

      1. How will the explosive growth of IoT affect our market?
      2. Smart cards could soon be superseded by mobiles, but how and when?
      3. Which comms technologies, such as NFC, QR Barcodes, BLE or iBeacons could dominate?
      4. What is the national strategy for commercial public transport payment systems?
      5. How will the new breed of challenger banks impact existing Schemes and banks?
      6. Who will win in the emerging micropayment, e-payment, prepaid and m-payment worlds?
      7. Who will win the m-wallet wars, and is there really a future for m-wallets?
      8. How can we absorb and benefit from the biometrics revolution?
      9. Will fingerprint readers be in the smartphone, in the point-of-service device, or both?
      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 570 of our sector-specific meetings have attracted over 18,500 delegate-days of attendance, with over 2,150 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 scope of our Forums to accommodate the ever-changing smart reality.   

    During 2018, some 550 different individuals attended our 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 full-day 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:



    Smart Payments Forum

    Mobile & Identity Forum

    Internet of Things Association

    International Biometrics Forum - coming soon

    Delegates' Area

    Delegates have access to presentations from the latest Smartex meeting.

    Delegate Presentations

  • January 2019.

    Three WGs have been set up:

    WG27 - Smart Integration for Whole Journeys

    WG28 - Developing a compelling Public Transport journey experience for tomorrow’s generation of travellers

    WG29 - Maximising the Value of PT-Generated Data

    If you are interested in participating in any of these, please contact