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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.

  • TCF News

    Updated on 27th May 2020

    A brief note on: Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers
    23 May update from Gov.UK: spotted by CH – to whom thanks (Ed.)
    Walking, cycling, and travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus outbreak.
    (Having trouble sleeping? Then read this: Ed.)

    Payment reinstated on London buses
    Transport for London (TfL) will begin the phased re-introduction of the requirement for passengers to touch in on buses with their contactless, Oyster or concessionary card, starting with routes served by single-door and New Routemaster buses.

    UK: Grant to develop public transport social distancing technology
    UK: The Innovate UK innovation agency has awarded UrbanThings a grant to develop a coronavirus social distancing and contact tracing platform for public transport operators. This is intended to help ensure that transport systems can operate with social distancing measures in place.

    Growing caution around return to public transport, finds Transport Focus
    Four out of ten people say they will not use public transport again until they feel safe in the latest survey findings from Transport Focus. The survey found the number of people happy to use transport as soon as restrictions are lifted has gone down from 24% in the first week of the survey to 18%.

    Creating travel choices in our cities
    Passenger PR
    Cardiff Bus’ customers will be able to seamlessly travel around the city thanks to a collaboration between leading bike-share operator nextbike, Cardiff Bus and Passenger. This journey planning addition allows essential workers travelling around the city now – and the passengers of the future, post-lockdown – more options for planning their essential journeys.

    RMT warns of strike action over any cuts to London’s transport system
    …“It looks like Boris Johnson is back in charge of transport in London. We will not accept one penny of austerity cuts imposed by Whitehall or passed on by City Hall as part of this funding package and our resistance will include strike action if necessary.”
    (Er, haven’t they been watching the News lately? Ed.)

    London coronavirus: The only London Underground stations to accept cash over contactless
    Use contactless or Oyster to pay for your travel. All Transport for London (TfL) frontline staff are being given face coverings, plus taxi and private hire ...

    Translink meets growing contactless ticketing demand with enhanced app

    Global Railway Review

    To reflect the huge growth in demand for contactless payments, Northern Ireland's public transport operator, Translink, has enhanced its app, ...

    Payments in transit: how transport technology is developing
    All around the world transit systems are having to embrace and adapt to an incoming cashless society, in which cards and alternative payment methods become the new norm, especially as physical distancing and concerns around cash handling take centre stage.

    More contactless ticketing options for Northern Ireland
    Rail Insider
    Norther Ireland's Translink has introduced an extended range of new 'mLink' app ticket options as part of its drive towards contactless ticketing.

    Contactless Travel
    Transport for Wales
    Here are all the ways to buy contactless Train Tickets We've prioritised the availability of contactless tickets through our TfW Rail app, self-service ...

    Contactless Mobile Ticketing is Healthier, Here is Why
    TheMayorEU (press release)
    Contactless mobile ticketing. But first, let's see why we are in such a dire need of healthier options on our public transport menu... How many nasty bugs ...

    Payments in transit: how transport technology is developing
    TX spoke to Venceslas Cartier, Global Head of Transportation and Smart Mobility at Ingenico Enterprise Retail, to get his expert opinion on what we can expect, and how Ingenico terminals are paving the way for a faster, smoother transit experience for everyone.

    to use smart card to access all transport means: Minister
    Egyptian commuters will be able to take different means of public transport within the country via the same smart card, ...

    Translink announces more contactless tickets for safer journeys
    Love Belfast (press release) (blog)
    Enhanced app, smartcard and contactless offering. Translink has introduced an extended range of new 'mLink' app ticket options as part of its drive ...

    Flowbird Launches Integrated EV Charging and Parking Payment Solution
    …Flowbird’s Park & Charge innovation offers a cost-effective route for councils to developon-and off-street EV charging capability by combiningadvanced charging hardware withexisting parking terminal, app, and account-based payment systems. With Park & Charge, both EV charging and parking services can be managed through a common centralized platform.

    Ticketer products - Fare Payments
    ITSO Smartcards. ITSO smart ticketing is the UK's standard for smartcard ticketing used for all concessionary travel in the UK and commercial smartcard ...

    Public transport: The future is happening now! 

    …Paragon ID and sister company airweb are experienced in implementing mobile ticketing solutions based on diverse technologies including QR codes, NFC tags, HCE... We have also worked in partnership with Ingenico to develop an open payment solution.

    Blog: Intelligent Transport Webinar. A New Fare Payments Reality: Ticketless, Cashless and ‘as a service’ (on-demand)
    Masabi PR
    This on-demand webinar from Intelligent Transport explores the potential impact on fare payment teams as well as the two hottest topics taking place in the public transport ticketing industry which both share a common naming convention, ‘as-a-service’.

    France: Paris Subway Tests Facial Recognition Software To Identify Passengers Not Wearing Masks
    Transport authorities in the French capital of Paris will trial facial recognition software to identify passengers who are not wearing medical masks, the Paris Match magazine reported on Thursday
    (Mmmm: wonder who sells them the entire national database. Ed.)

    UK train operators can now procure COVID-19 protection products through Paragon ID's platform
    Transport operators along with many other employers will be under the obligation to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff at work where necessary and implement additional cleaning procedures to protect staff and customers. Therefore, to support our UK transport operator customers, we have made the following items available through our online procurement platform (PEP):

    Blog: Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART)’s Ticketing Success Story: From Train to Ferry and straight into Central San Francisco
    Masabi PR
    A recent study from Juniper Research found that mobile ticketing users will number 1.9 billion by 2023, so it’s no surprise that we are seeing excellent adoption rates and stats from clients who have deployed a mobile ticketing app with Masabi. Here’s the story behind the success of SMART’s mobile ticketing app.

    Paragon ID reports contraction due to Covid-19
    Security Document World
    Paragon ID, a leading provider of identification solutions for e-ID, Transport & Smart Cities, Traceability & Brand Protection, and Payment, publishes its consolidated revenues for the third quarter of the financial year 2019/2020 (year-ending 30th June 2020). Paragon ID's consolidated revenues in the third quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year totalled €29,0 M, growing +6% over the same quarter in 2018/19 (+7% at constant exchange rates).

    Ferry Booking and Ticketing Software: Calmac Ferries
    PCS Tender via David Hytch
    … CFL's Minimum Requirement is for modern, packaged, commercial, off the shelf and market-proven ferry booking and ticketing software.

     20% drop in public transport use predicted post-pandemic
    City transport authorities and operators could face a 20% fall in public transport use even after COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted, suggests a [Systra] survey.

    Government set to bail out city train and tram networks
    …The Government has also confirmed that it will support the light rail systems in Sheffield, Manchester, West Midlands, Nottingham, and Tyne and Wear, and is working with local authorities to identify what support is needed to allow essential services to continue

    Bus drivers will no longer touch cash from passengers in rule change from Monday
    ... encourages those making their essential journey to pay for their ticket with either a contactless bankcard, Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

    Blockchain technology for smart ticketing
    Many rail travellers still use paper tickets, but many now purchase tickets via a smartphone application or use a smartcard such as the Oystercard (in ...

    Trapeze and Masabi join forces to make transit payments simpler, faster and more convenient for riders
    Masabi PR
    Masabi, the company bringing Fare Payments-as-a-Service (FPaaS) to public transit and Trapeze Group, a global leader in the delivery of advanced transit technology and tools, today announced a strategic collaboration to offer transit agencies an integrated fare payment solution to help revolutionize the rider experience and change the way public transit agencies deliver Mobility-as-a-Service to their communities.

    PayThink Transit systems shouldn't confuse open loop pay with EMV
    Payments Source
    An interesting observation has occurred to me during industry conferences and articles I’ve read that I felt important to address: Account-based ticketing is rarely distinguished from EMV. While an EMV transit system is a form of account-based ticketing (ABT), this assimilation is problematic. And crucially, it’s prohibiting transit

    Blockchain technology for smart ticketing
    Smart ticketing using blockchain can improve the passenger experience through greater flexibility, whilst cutting down on the waste of paper tickets. Joe Preece, PhD Researcher at the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education at the University of Birmingham, examines how

    UK: MIFARE Cards for Transport, Access Control, Leisure, and More Now Available at Universal Smart Cards
    Digital Journal
    Today, Universal Smart Cards is happy to introduce another premier product on its list: MIFARE cards, which are ideal for transport, leisure, access control, loyalty, events, and e-government purposes.


  • 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