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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

  • 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.

  • Smart Transport Masterclass

    23rd September 2019

    Marriott Royal Hotel, College Green, Bristol

    Following last September’s record-breaking conference in Manchester, we have recently announced TCF19, to take place at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel on 24th and 25th September 2019.  Its main theme will be '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, for the first time, we shall be running an in-depth and interactive Smart Transport Masterclass on Monday 23rd September 2019, at the TCF19 venue.  This will appeal to those wishing to benefit from a highly informative 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.



    Why attend this Masterclass?

    • The emerging smart transport infrastructure is extremely complex, with many of the players having commercial interests and elaborate fare structures not amenable to a national approach. You will learn a great deal about the likely outcomes resulting from current reviews, regulations and technologies.
    • MaaS (Mobility as a Service) is a poorly understood but extremely important concept. You will find out exactly what it is, what its benefits and constraints are, and how it will change the smart transport game in the near future.
    • As ever, technological advances are ahead of our ability to accommodate them. You will gain an in-depth understanding of potential winners, and how they will affect operators and travellers.  You will also gain an understanding of the rapid evolution of travellers’ entitlement and payment tokens, as we continue on the journey from using cardboard tickets, to smart cards and – in the opinion of many – to smartphones.
    • Traditional operator structures, many of which are experiencing a downturn in traveller numbers, could be about to witness a radical intervention from non-traditional transport players, several of whom have more resources and coverage than any existing operating entity. They have aspirations to take over not only the authentication, ticketing and payment processes but also the modes and ownership of public (and private) transport hardware.  You will find out about these disruptors and how they could affect the fundamentals of transport.
    • The session leaders and other attendees for this Masterclass will try to answer the burning questions that you may have on any aspects of future smart transport.

    Who should attend the Masterclass?

    • Operating company staff with an interest in smart public transport
    • Service provider staff needing to understand how to develop appropriate products and services
    • Local Authority officers with an interest in their public transport schemes
    • Government officials, financial institutions, consultants and others who are stakeholders in our emerging smart transport infrastructure.

    Masterclass content

    The day’s agenda will be divided into four main topics, with each having several distinct sessions.  The planned content (which may change for reasons beyond our control) will include:

    1. Scene-setting
      1. Introduction and overview
      2. Mobility trends – the big picture
    2. MaaS
      1. MaaS commercial complications
      2. The MaaS Engine Room
      3. ‘It’s not Business as Usual’
    3. Emerging technology
      1. cEMV: experience to date and future plans
      2. ABT and Mobile Services – ‘The next fight?’
      3. The disruptors: Apple, Google, Uber, Amazon…?
      4. Innovation and the future of mobility
      5. Integration of ticketing with other mobile apps
    4. Q&A and summary

    Masterclass attendees will be encouraged to interact with each other and with session leaders throughout the day, when their questions, comments and views can be addressed and shared to the benefit of all.

    What’s included in the Masterclass package?

    • All-day attendance
    • Refreshments and luncheon
    • Masterclass course material
    • Access to presentation material afterwards (subject to copyright and distribution restrictions)
    • Access to private meetings with session leaders after the conclusion of the Masterclass

    Masterclass attendance charge

    The Masterclass package represents extremely good value for money:

    • For Smartex members: £275 + VAT
    • For non-member transport operators: £325 + VAT
    • For other non-members: £375 + VAT

    Attendance charges will be invoiced by Smartex, and will be payable in advance.

    Attendance at TCF19

    Most of the Masterclass delegates will choose to attend TCF19 over the ensuing two days.  Armed with knowledge and insights gained at the Masterclass, they will be in a far better position to understand and benefit from the sessions there.   

     Overnight accommodation

    Attendees at the Masterclass and at TCF19 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.

    Masterclass attendance registration process

    Those wishing to reserve a place in the Masterclass or at the TCF19 event may do so by completing and submitting our Attendance Request Form.  Smartex will then invoice you accordingly.

    For full details of the 2-day TCF19 event click here.

  • TCF News

    Updated on 15th November 2019

    China: facial recognition security on subways
    Abacus News
    A subway system in China will soon know if you've been naughty or nice using only facial recognition technology. The Beijing Subway plans to introduce security screenings that use an AI-powered camera system to divide passengers into groups. When passengers enter a station, facial recognition will check them against a database. If the system prompts security staff, other security measures will be adopted, according to Zhan Minghui, director of Beijing Rail Traffic Control Center.
    (Hope it’s faster than the rubbish system at UK airports: Ed.)

    London is testing on-demand public transport services that you can book with an app
    People can now pay for journeys on the city's tube, bus and overground rail network using contactless cards or their smartphone, although contactless ...

    Bus passengers turning to contactless in record numbers, says FirstGroup
    AOL Travel UK
    More bus passengers paid with contactless and mobile apps rather than cash on FirstGroup's local bus routes for the first time in its history, the ...

    Evening News readers respond to calls for a London-style Oyster card in Edinburgh
    Edinburgh News
    We already have contactless which does exactly this. I haven't used my Oyster card in London since contactless payment was introduced down there ...

    Placing Public Transport at the Center of Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
    Masabi PR
    Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is the movement towards the integration of services that allows a customer to use whichever mobility service is the best fit for a journey (public and private) from the moment they leave their front door until they reach their destination, planning and paying seamlessly based on what, and how much they use.

    New Zealand: New bus ticket system set to go live in December
    A much-delayed and over-budget transport payment system, to be shared between nine regions, has met D-Day, and wider Manawatū bus passengers are set to be the guinea pigs. The Regional Integrated Ticketing System would allow public transport users to have one payment card across nine council areas.

    Exactly how Crossrail is going to fit in to the London Underground
    You'll be able to use your contactless card to tap in and out of stations, although there will be a gradual introduction of this so it won't be available in all ...
    (A confused and confusing scenario for cEMV and Oyster over parts of the Crossrail line: Ed.)

    What happens when you pay wrong on the London Underground, trams and buses
    Before using TfL services ensure you keep all your contactless and Oyster cards separate. It's best if you take the card you want to use out of your ...

    IoT and the race for the car of the future
    When people think of the car of the future they usually imagine something that drives (or even flies!) itself – but there's much more to innovation in the ...

    Paragon ID acquires Thames Technology
    Paragon ID PR
    Paragon ID, leading provider of identification solutions for Transport, e-ID, Track & Trace, Brand Protection and Payment is pleased to announce the acquisition of 100% of the share capital of the British company Thames Card Technology Ltd., a card manufacturer.

    You can now pay contactless on Chester's park and ride buses
    Cheshire Live
    Cheshire West and Chester Council have worked with Stagecoach Bus to introduce contactless payments on the city's park and ride buses.

    Citymapper's Oyster Card Competitor Has Expanded To Zones 3-4
    What's more, with contactless bank cards accepted all over the capital's transportation network, what's the point of a travel card, anyway? And finally ...

    Calls made for mandatory acceptance of credit and debit card payments in Dublin taxis
    Calls have been made for it to be made mandatory for Dublin taxi drivers to accept credit and debit card payments for fares. Dublin Chamber has made a submission to the National Transport Authority calling for the introduction of card payment facilities in all of the city's cabs.

    Ericsson IoT solution powers more efficient solar-powered transport
    Ericsson (press release) (blog)
    Ericsson IoT solution powers more efficient solar-powered transport ... the power of IoT and solar energy for more sustainable transport solutions.

    Visa expands public transit program to encourage contactless fare collection
    Mobile Payments Today
    "Transit riders around the world are embracing the speed, security and convenience of traveling with contactless payments, and transit agencies have ...

    Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road Introduce Mail&Ride eTix Delivery
    Masabi PR
    The MTA’s Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road will today start providing customers who subscribe to Mail&Ride monthly tickets the option of receiving them electronically on their mobile devices, allowing customers another convenient option to purchase monthly tickets.

    First Group and Corethree link up for mobile ticketing in Google Pay
    MobileMarketing Magazine
    First Group, one of the UK's largest bus operators, and mobile ticketing provider Corethree have teamed up with ITSO Transit Hub – a subsidiary of ...

    …and the ITSO PR version of the above (Ed.)
    ITSO Transit Hub and First Group deliver industry-first mobile ticketing on buses
    ITSO Transit Hub Ltd and First Group, one of the UK’s largest bus operators, are joining forces to deliver ITSO-compatible mobile ticketing to First Bus passengers through Google Pay. A first for bus passengers in the UK, trials of ITSO on Mobile, ITSO Transit Hub Ltd.’s mobile ticketing technology, are currently underway with First Bus Glasgow before being rolled out to more than 1.6 million passengers across the First Bus network.

    Uber will pay drivers and couriers after every trip
    Uber plans to integrate Apple Pay and Google Pay with its wallet next year, Uber Money chief Peter Hazlehurst told CNBC. When that happens ...

    UK: The new London-style smart travel card coming to Merseyside and how it will work
    Merseyside will soon get a new London-style travel system - with a new smart card for getting around the region.  A new MetroCard smart travel scheme is to replace the Liverpool City Region’s Walrus card.


  • 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:

    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

  • 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