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ScotRail plays its cards right

Monday 11 February 2013

ScotRail and the Scottish Government are accelerating plans to offer SmartCard season tickets to customers.

The train operator - which runs 95% of train services in Scotland - has already issued some 12,000 cards to staff and customers, providing a robust testing ground for a wider customer roll out this year.

An initial pilot on the Edinburgh – Falkirk High – Glasgow Queen Street route has been successful, providing impetus to extend the scheme.

A £2million investment has seen the installation and/or upgrade of equipment at 70 stations across the central belt, which will see key season ticket routes - Stirling, Ayrshire, Aberdeen and parts of Strathclyde - switch to smart ticketing.

The move is in line with the Scottish Government’s long term vision to have a ‘Saltire’ card that will enable passengers to switch between different modes of transport using one SmartCard.

ScotRail is currently completing rigorous testing before going live on new routes, to ensure that customers get the best possible first impression.

“To encourage customers to make the switch, the entire SmartCard offering must be seamless,” said Sean Duffy, commercial director at ScotRail.

He added, “We are ensuring that we have all elements in place and working well before we go live: a dedicated website - where photos for SmartCards can be uploaded online - a specialist customer service team, reliable equipment at stations and on trains, and well trained staff on the ground to assist. To support the roll-out we’re producing a range of marketing materials to position SmartCards as the best choice for season ticket holders.”

Duffy is also the ‘sponsor’ for smart ticketing for FirstGroup, ScotRail’s parent organisation, ensuring that best practice is shared around the company's other train operating companies going forward.

“SmartCards make life easier for customers – and more efficient for transport providers. Our focus on smart ticketing opportunities reflects the shift by franchise providers towards projects that genuinely improve passenger satisfaction and increase patronage.”

For more information on the ScotRail SmartCard, or to apply for a SmartCard, please go to

(This text is adapted from an article originally published in The ITSO Newsletter)

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