The UIC technical groups report to the Technical Group of the Commercial and Distribution forum. They meet three times a year at UIC in February, June and October.
The objectives of these meetings are to maintain, discuss and upgrade the standards concerning the exchange of information between the railway undertakings. The participants are all European railway undertakings (wider Europe including Russian Railways), CIT (International Rail Transport Committee), Hitrail.
The Passenger technical groups are organised as follows:
• The Passenger Messages Management group (TAP MD), in charge of the standardization of messages and interfaces between railway reservation systems. The TAP MD validates proposals prepared by the following working subgroups:
• The REG, Reservation Expert group (former “Team Messages” (TM)) processes proposals for updates and extensions on behalf of messages used by the reservation systems;
• The Ticketing Action Group (TAG) develops ticketing models on paper, print at home or non paper tickets: bar codes, size of ticket…
The TAP-MD (Maintenance & Development), chaired by Clemens Gantert, Sales Backend & Data Management at DB Systel, as a subgroup of Technical Group (TG) in the Passenger Department of UIC is responsible for the development and maintenance of interoperable specifications in distribution and the coordination of their implementation between the members. The group maintains the leaflet 918.0, 918.6, 918.7 as well as 918.1 (by subgroup REG/TM) and (918.2 by subgroup TAG). The group analyses new requirements and develops new specifications at the request of the Technical Group (TG).
The main topics of the meeting in February were the refund of unused tickets and the requirement analysis for graphical reservation.
The refund of unused tickets is currently a manual process. The current version of UIC leaflet 918.7 specifies messages for the compensation of passengers in case of delays. The extension will handle the refund of unused tickets. This provides the option to replace manual processes between railways. During the meeting the final version of the specification was technically approved by the TAP-MD participants.
At the request of the Commercial Group a requirement analysis for graphical reservation was made. Some railway undertakings use graphical reservation within their own systems, but until now there has been no interoperable solution for graphical reservation. The study collected and consolidated the requirements of the railways to implement an interoperable graphical reservation function. The requirement analysis has been finalised as the first step towards an interoperable message specification.
The results of the subgroups REG/TM (on reservation messages in leaflet 918.1) and TAG (on ticket layouts in UIC leaflet 918.2) have been validated. Implementation schedules for changes have been adopted and agreed.
At the meeting Hitrail gave a report on the current status of the web services for reservation which were developed by TAP-MD to replace outdated message technologies during the last few years and are now maintained in the REG/TM group. The new web services are now used in production by the first railway and some other railways are currently in the test phase or have shown interest in starting the development. Hitrail supports the transition by providing translation services between old and new technologies.
The Reservation Expert Group (REG), chaired by Jan Klaumünzner, DB Vertrieb, is a subgroup of Technical Group (TG) and TAP-MD (Messages & Distribution) within the UIC Passenger Department. The working group was established around 1980 as Team Messages. It was the first working group within UIC which addressed message exchange between passenger systems. The name of the group was changed shortly afterwards.
The working group provides a platform to discuss issues relating to reservation systems. The main aspects are the development of the UIC Leaflets 918-0 (Electronic seat/berth reservation and electronic production of travel documents – General regulations) and 918-1 (Electronic reservation of seats/berths and electronic production of travel documents – Exchange of messages). They describe the business cases and the messages which have to be exchanges between the reservation systems in the HOSA network.
The meetings discuss the new developments in IT and the resultant distribution strategies. Cooperation with neighbouring working groups is also an important aspect.
The main aspects have been to collect requirements referring to graphical reservation and description of different definitions of terms to have a common understanding.
The TAG meeting was organised by its chairman, David Sarfatti, Avancial.
RZD reported that they deploy UIC RCT2 layout for international journeys in Russia. In summer 2015, 30% of sales desks will be equipped with ATB paper and printer.
918-2 leaflet version 8 should be published in January 2016. Updates consist in an optional position for CIV acronym and label “Issuer” and “carrier” before the codes.
The participants completed the UIC Barcode User guide which specifies how to implement and control AZTEC Barcode Version 3 define in UIC leaflet 918-2. This new UIC AZTEC barcode Version 3 proposes flexibility because of its header and thus encompasses all ticket types: IRT, NRT, Group ticket and Passes.
It is also highly secure because of its strong encryption seal and is therefore acknowledged by NS to open rail station gates in the Netherland.
NS, SNCB and Eurail Group in Benelux are printing this Barcode from January 2015 on their RCT2 and Print@Home tickets. The feedback by railway experts on current production implementation is a determining factor in producing an efficient user guide for other UIC railway companies.
The UIC Public Key Management Website https://railpublickey.uic.org/ provides public keys needed to read and decrypt UIC barcodes in use. Minor modifications to enhance the understanding of the delivery of the keys were decided.
URT progress was discussed. The Universal Rail Ticket (URT) workgroup is a temporary TAG sub-group from October 2013 to July 2015.
The aim is to evaluate the possibility to create a universal standard for electronic ticketing and ensure interoperability between the different railway companies, rail tickets types (IRT, NRT, GRT, BOA, …) and all ticket types (paper, home printed, paperless,..).
Lastly TAG participants decided to produce and maintain a document which describes all fulfilment methods available for each railway and country.