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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 13th March 2020

    Making transit safer for women and girls with 'smart technology'
    CTV News
    ... are excited about using smart technology, incorporating diverse perspectives and engaging community groups to help inform safety enhancements.”.
    (Really? Ed.)

    Tracsis swoops for smart ticketing specialist
    Insider Media
    Leeds-headquartered transport software business Tracsis has completed the acquisition of a rail industry counterpart specialising in smart ticketing in a deal potentially worth up to £24.2m. London-based iBlocks was established in 2000 and specialises in the provision of smart ticketing, automated delay repay and the development of mission critical back office systems that are used by the Rail Delivery Group, train operating companies (TOCs) and the rail industry supply chain.

    Smart card travel is now available from Bedford Train Station
    Cranfield and Marston Vale Chronicle (press release) (blog)
    Key Smartcards are “more secure than paper tickets”. Passengers using Thameslink at Bedford Station can now pick up a free, reusable Key Smartcard directly from a kiosk. It takes two minutes, instead of having to apply online and wait five days for a card to arrive in the post. As soon as a passenger has a card, they can buy and load tickets onto it from a nearby ticket machine, then tap in and go.

    LOCAL NEWS: Travel on any bus in BCP with new weekly 'Smartcard'
    BH Living Magazine
    A new weekly ‘Getting About Smartcard’ has arrived in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole that allows for unlimited travel on most buses. The new weekly card means that you can now travel across BCP for £22 (adults) and £18 (children) for seven consecutive days.

    Contactless payments in transport to surge by 2024
    Mobile World Live
    Research analyst Susannah Hampton explained mobile contactless ticketing had “gained momentum by prioritising convenience, as with Apple Pay ...

    One million journeys on Tyne and Wear Metro made using Pop Blue Smartcard
    The smartcard can be topped up online, at a Metro ticket machine or a Mexus TravelShop. A £2 daily price cap applies regardless of the number of trips.

    Use your National Entitlement Card on other transport modes
    Transport Scotland
    Depending on the operator, tickets can be loaded onto your NEC smartcard at: ticket offices ... Tickets can be paid for with cash, card or contactless.

    Germany: Cubic awarded Aachen ticketing contract
    Aachen transport association AVV has awarded Cubic Transportation Systems a contract worth more than US $3m to supply and maintain a multimodal ticketing system in the regions of Aachen, Düren, and Heinsberg. Mobile ticketing, an internet shop, and customer service portal are to be implemented by September of this year, while season tickets and the booking of car and bike sharing modes are expected by the end of 2021.

    Helsinki public transport goes contactless
    Littlepay today announces it has won a contract with Helsinki Regional Transport. In a project spanning three years, completing in 2023, our transit payment gateway will enable contactless EMV payments on all transport modes in Finland’s vibrant capital and some other cities in Finland.

    'No quick fix' as Northern comes under public ownership
    Transport Network
    … Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘This is new era for rail in the North, but there will be no quick fix for the network as we build solutions for the future. ‘Today marks the beginning of rebuilding of trust in these services, and voices from the region will be essential as we work together to understand and deliver the improvements passengers need.’

    TFL misleads London Underground users about Apple Pay Express Transit
    iMore (press release) (blog)
    Transport for London is warning Tube goers about Apple's Express Transit Feature. Billboards spotted on the London Underground state that Apple ...

    Northern passengers win £600000 in Smartcard giveaway
    The competition was launched in September 2019 and introduced monthly price draws for Smart card season ticket holders, with passengers able to ...
    (Are things up North really that bad?  Ed.)

    Google logo to replace yellow covers on Oyster card readers in £2m deal with TfL
    Evening Standard
    During the deal, Google's contactless tap-to-pay rivals — the likes of Apple Pay, PayPal, Samsung Pay and Visa Checkout — are banned from ...
    (Can I tap in with Apple Pay??  More daft confusion coming up for the ‘Pay’ users.  Is TfL that desperate?  Ed.)

    How will 5G transform transport? [USA]
    ... to release new 5G-enabled models which link into the internet of things (IoT) and offer drivers and their passengers a wealth of new opportunities.

    Newport Bus launches long-awaited contactless payment
    "Contactless payment will simplify the way people pay for their fares and will be especially beneficial in encouraging the occasional bus users to use ...

    Liverpool city region set to back bus franchising
    Liverpool city region's metro mayor has described franchising as the 'leading option' under plans to overhaul the region's bus services.

    So far so Good for Public Transit Ticketing in Multiple MaaS Apps in Denver
    …So, how do transit agencies assist in helping make it easy and convenient for people to use their services? This is where Mobility as a Service fits in.

    Berlin: BVG to Install Sleek Ticket Vending Machines in Hundreds of Trams
    The Berlin Spectator
    Both of those accept many kinds of payment, including Google Pay, Apple Pay, credit cards, debit cards and V Pay. And they sell all kinds of tickets ...

    Plans for Bristol blue cabs to accept card payments
    People hailing one of Bristol's blue taxis will soon be able to pay for their fare using a credit or debit card as well as by cash. Changes to the licensing system are due to go out to consultation but are "very strongly" supported by the Bristol Blue Trade Association.

    UK: Vision-Box partners with Gatwick Airport for end-to-end biometrics, plans demo for PTE 2020
    Biometric Update
    Vision-Box has partnered with Gatwick Airport in London to provide it with its Orchestra Services Platform for a seamless passenger experience and to improve processing times, the company announced.

    Tired of packed trains? Here's how smart cities can make your commute less painful
    Last summer, the city introduced a contactless system on the Metrolink light rail service – an additional wealth of data, which enables Snowflake to ...

    ScotRail on Twitter: "Scotland's going Smart! Come and visit the Smartcard Roadshow to find all ...
    Scotland's going Smart! Come and visit the Smartcard Roadshow to find all the benefits of travelling with a Smartcard. The team will be at Glasgow ...

    contactless on even more buses in bucks
    Wycombe Buses
    Contactless card payment is now availiable on almost all operators in Buckinghamshire. Recently Red Eagle, Red Rose and Redline announce the ...

    c2c launch new 'reduce the queues' campaign
    Braintree and Witham Times
    TRAIN operator c2c has launched a new campaign to help customers beat the ticket office queues. Following a long list of customers woes which has ...

    £151m up for grabs as DfT starts latest self-assessment process
    The Department for Transport has released the self-assessment questionnaire that will determine the 2020/2021 Incentive Fund allocations for highway authorities in England, excluding London, with £151m up for grabs.

    TfSE joins forces with the big three
    Transport Network
    Network Rail, Highways England and Transport for London have all agreed to join the board of Transport for the South East.

    Transport for Greater Manchester Chooses Snowflake to Underpin Its Data Analytics Strategy
    AiThority (press release) (blog)
    The initiative introduced a quick, easy touch-in and touch-out function at tram stops and included a contactless system that delivers customers the ...
    …Snowflake, the Cloud Data Platform, announced that Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is using Snowflake’s cloud-built data platform to harness and analyse crucial mobility data. Migrating to Snowflake has allowed TfGM the freedom to ingest data, extract insights and gain value to support its business operations. This transition has given its users a more seamless experience when travelling around Greater Manchester.

  • 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