Southeastern has signed up to a £5.5 million deal with the Department of Transport to introduce smartcards, which will benefit train passengers between London, Kent and parts of East Sussex.
These smartcards will initially be available for season tickets from December 2016, with other ticket types anticipated to follow in due course.
As part of the government-funded South East Flexible Ticketing (SEFT) programme, the intention is that these smart cards will operate seamlessly across London and the various Train Operating Companies in the South East.
Benefits of smart cards include:
- Facility to purchase online and collect at stations.
- Avoiding ticket office queues.
- Quicker entry through automatic ticket barriers.
- Durable season tickets that do not wear out so quickly.
- Scope to review your journey history online (not promised by government press release).
Drawbacks of smart cards can be:
- Increased risk of a Penalty Fare, if the smart card validator fails to register that you touched in or the ticket inspector’s reader does not work properly.
- Increased risk of fraud: As various electronic ticketing systems (smartcards, contactless & Apple Pay) are introduced, the risk of scammers posing as officials to defraud customers, e.g. card skimming, rises.