The ongoing Universal Rail Ticketing Workgroup Meetings
Representatives of different European railway companies of UIC groups, along with UIC representatives, are defining unique standards for mobile ticketing and the interoperability between multiple ticket technologies: the Universal Rail Ticketing (URT).
The advantages of this URT for railway companies consist in helping to reduce ticket printing/mailing costs, increasing revenue by enlarging accessibility of tickets and improving railway branding. Customers should now be able to book an international ticket anywhere, at any time.
As URT chairmen, David Sarfatti of the TAG group and Kurt De Vriendt of the TAP NT group gathered representatives of German, Austrian, Japanese, Austrian, Norwegian and Turkish rail companies on Thursday, 9 April in Istanbul and 14 May in Oslo. Marc Guigon and Fabrice Setta, UIC Senior Advisors for Passenger Transport, and Chris Querée, UIC Technical Group chairman, also participated.
These meetings were the sixth and seventh workshops for the development of European industry standards that provide customers with more control on the ticketing process and give them convenient ways to manage their tickets for international journeys using mobile technology.
Mobile ticketing is already widely used in the railways. With this technology, passengers connected to a smartphone application can book and validate their ticket. Paper printing is not required anymore.
In Istanbul, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryolları (TCDD) presented their brand new distribution system EYBIS. Since the deployment of EYBIS and the mobile ticketing channel in January 2014, already 20% of ticket sales are made with the TCCD mobile app on smartphones.
In Oslo, Japan Rail (JR) presented its multiple mobile ticketing solutions depending on the operator. Large stations are divided into company areas, closed with gates. NFC smart cards or phones and barcodes can open the gates.
The URT group wants to unify the specifications of the different European railway companies to minimise impacts and modifications costs on already existing mobiles solutions.
The discussion focuses on the definition of actors involved in ticketing and, with CIT’s validation, the URT group is now able to propose a clear and simple definition of all processes and roles. This definition will be proposed to other UIC group and to FSM group.
The workgroup invites representatives of other railway companies to attend their meeting which fosters, according to Sarfatti, “good emulation and discussion” and “allows participants to better apprehend the different specifications. This will help additional cooperation in the future.” Indeed, during each meeting companies introduce their own sets of specifications for mobile ticketing.
The next meeting will take place in Frankfurt on 17 June on Deutsche Bahn’s premises.