Train tickets could soon be replaced with biometric technology
Rail travel across the UK could soon be a lot more tech-friendly after new rules governing train journeys were revealed
One of the rail industry’s biggest watchdogs has published a number of new proposals which it says will transform travelling by train into a tech-friendly experience.
The new rules could spell an end to paper tickets once and for all – with ticket-free journeys enabled with a scan of your eyeball or fingerprint instead.
Your smartphone could soon be a key part in your commute
The changes come courtesy of new plans from the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which unveiled its plans for what the future of rail travel should look like.
Biometric scanning is listed as a key part of these plans as the group looks to cut down on the stress suffered my train passengers across the nation.
Similar technology is already in use at airports around the country, allowing travellers with biometric passports faster entry into the country by skipping lengthy queues at immigration.
But the proposals are likely to alarm many travellers, who will wonder just who exactly owns their personal information, and how securely it is being stored.
But customers could also soon see their mobile devices playing much more of a central role in their train journey.
One firm is already looking to start a trial of a Bluetooth-enabled app that would allow customers to travel without a ticket.
The new service from Chiltern Railways, set to be trialled on the route between Oxford Parkway and London Marylebone, would be able to track a customer’s device as they travel to their destination, automatically opening up ticket barriers and charging the user as they go.
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The plans include a number of technology-enabled ways to make travelling by train easier
RDG chief executive Paul Plummer told an audienceat its annual conference in Birmingham, "This blueprint sets out how we can harness digital technology to make journeys better for passengers and freight customers on a railway that's simpler and easier to use.”
“Britain needs a railway fit to meet current and future demands for mobility and flexible enough to respond to the changing expectations of passengers and freight customers,” the RDG wrote.
“Technology and innovation have a vital role to play in making sure the railway is ready to meet the challenges of reducing costs and carbon emissions whilst increasing network capacity and dramatically improving customer experience.”
Biometric technology has been growing in popularity in recent months as more and more users look for a more secure way to protect their information.
Recent research from Visa found that 60 per cent of Britons would trust their banks to safely store biometric information including fingerprint, iris and facial recognition.
However, just 33 per cent said that they would be for the government to access the same data.
Banks were seen as a key point to test out new biometric technology, with consumer trust growing as they become more familiar with the services, with fingerprint scanners now present in many leading smartphones.
Nearly two-thirds of consumers (64 per cent) want to use biometrics as a method of payment authentication, with fingerprint highlighted as the most popular method.
Fingerprint authentication was also found to be viewed as the most secure form of payment, ranking higher than other biometric authentication options such as iris-scanning (83 per cent) and facial recognition (65 per cent).