Contactless card payments are now available on selected train routes and services in Wales.
Transport for Wales (TfW) has partnered with smart ticketing and payment solutions provider Unicard to the deploy the Ticketing Hub platform, which also processes payments and ensures passengers pay the best available fare.
The partnership means TfW becomes the first UK train operator outside of London to deploy contactless EMV services.
The rollout will begin with a pilot scheme running between Newport, Cardiff and Pontyclun before a phased expansion of the service to the South Wales Metro area next year.
Unicard’s Ticketing Hub is an integration platform designed to orchestrate several third-party systems.
It allows customers to use a payment card or mobile device to tap in and out on validators on rail platforms, or gates at ticket barriers, at the start and end of every train journey.
The solution receives and processes these taps, sending them to a back office system that calculates the value of each trip, taking into account customers’ travel patterns and behaviour.
Unicard then ensures accurate and secure payment based on the overall journey.
Unlike other contactless EMV card solutions, Ticketing Hub is agnostic to the card reader used.
The solution is multimodal and multi-operator and means scheme administrators can mix equipment within a single deployment.
Sean Dickinson, CEO of Unicard, said: “TfW has delivered a proven model for other UK regions looking to rollout a best-value travel experience for their passengers.”
As previously reported by CiTTi Magazine, Unicard acquired smart transport ticketing and payment solutions company Ecebs from Visa in August 2023.
Prior to this, Ecebs had been working with TfW on implementing the Ticketing Hub solution, but activities were paused as a result of the pandemic.
Post-Covid, work has resumed on the platform’s development and third-party integration.
The service has now reached the testing phase and a live pilot scheme has recently been launched to test its capability and functionality before it is rolled out across Wales.
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