Gatwick Express customers embrace eTickets

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UK: Train travellers are snapping up new mobile-friendly eTickets, with more than one million sold in the first six months, Rail Delivery Group (RDG) announced.

eTickets can be stored on a smartphone or mobile device and used through the train company app, in Apple Wallet and by email.

Virgin Trains West Coast, in partnership with Trainline, were the first to offer eTickets in August last year. Gatwick Express and TransPennine Express followed suit and Caledonian Sleeper will offer eTickets soon. In the six months since launching over 1.4million eTickets have been sold.

eTicket return

Latest figures from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train companies, show that 85% of tickets sold online by Gatwick Express are eTickets. Virgin Trains West Coast reports that almost half (47%) of those customers presented with the option to purchase eTickets over paper options choose to do so. Research by online ticket retailer Trainline, who sell Virgin West Coast eTickets, show that four in five customers (82%) rated using eTickets as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ and that almost nine in ten (89%) would buy one again.

The eTicket design was collaboratively developed by the train companies, RDG and two of the industry’s technology suppliers – Trainline and Assertis. The eTicket design and format will be developed further to cover a wider range of ticket types and fares and to include clearer, simpler information for passengers.

The RDG is working with train companies to enable passengers across the country to use smartphones as tickets by 2018. Train companies have pioneered different types of mobile-friendly electronic tickets including the current m-Ticket on services operated by Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Northern, London Midland, ScotRail, TransPennine Express and Virgin Trains East and West Coast.

Dennis Rocks, RDG Managing Director of Technology Services, said:

“The railway must move with the times. All train companies are improving and modernising how they sell tickets, developing mobile-friendly, smarter types of electronic tickets to make it quicker and easier for people to pay to travel by train.

“It’s great to see 1.4 million eTickets sold in just six months. More and more train travellers are discovering the benefits of being able to buy tickets online and download them to a smartphone or other device rather than having to rely on the old orange paper type.”

Angie Doll, Gatwick Express Passenger Services Director, said:

“With these online eTickets passengers really can glide to Gatwick. They feature a 10% discount and we’re selling 65,000 a month. They’re brilliant for the very large number of people making simple journeys to and from the airport – a logical and positive innovation that moves us from the antiquated era of the orange paper ticket to the modern systems used by airlines across the world.

“Passengers have the immediate reassurance of seeing the ticket on their phone or device the moment they have bought it. They don’t have to queue to collect it from a machine when they arrive at the airport – indeed eTickets and the roll out of Oyster and Contactless at Gatwick have slashed queues at the airport.”

Alistair Lees, Managing Director of Assertis, said:

“eTickets enable customers to get their tickets immediately, without the need to download an app, and to use either their smartphone or an A4 print-out to travel – whichever they find easiest. We are pleased to have been able to work collaboratively with train companies and other suppliers to take this from an idea to a successful roll out in such a short space of time, and are looking forward to helping roll it out nationally.”