I went to a meeting in Kettering yesterday with three colleagues. While the journey was as easy as ever (well done East Midlands Trains), we spent a surprising amount of the journey bemoaning an antiquated rail ticketing system that that turns four return tickets from London to Kettering into 13 seemingly identical pieces of paper. Not to mention the inconvenience and inefficiency inherent in a system that requires passengers to shuffle said pieces of paper for every barrier and ticket inspection (six in all) to ensure that the right one is scanned or shown to the guard.
Surely, we all said, there must be a better way. If it’s possible to get cinema tickets or even boarding cards for transatlantic flights as a scannable bar code to your phone, why not train tickets? Well it turns out that someone is on the case.
Congratulations to thetrainline.com who, in a little-noticed announcement last month, disclosed plans to start issuing tickets with electronic barcodes. This means that your phone could easily replace all that paper. It’s not clear when this new system might be up and running, but it will be very welcome – for commuters, train guards and those of us who want to go to our meetings without a pocketful of confetti.
Who knows, one day getting the 8.10 to Kettering may be as easy as flying to New York.