PAPER tickets will be a thing of the past on British railways in the next two years, according to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
Mr Grayling has set a target for passengers to be able to use some form of smart or electronic ticket on every rail route by the end of 2018.
He has also pledged to work with the rail industry to find ways of simplifying the complex web of fares passengers face.
Speaking at the National Travel Awards, Mr Grayling said: “In a digital age we should not be so reliant on outdated ticket machines and paper tickets.
“We should not need to queue to get a ticket before getting onto the train.
“We should be able to travel everywhere with the flick of a card or more probably a touch of the mobile phone.
“So I am setting my department and the industry a clear goal.
“I want commuters around the country to have access to smart season tickets – without the risk of an expensive season ticket getting torn, wet, lost or damaged.
“I want a simple system to buy a ticket on your mobile phone, that removes the need to queue up and that can be bought in the comfort of a passenger’s home, on the bus, or while they are having a coffee at the station
“By the end of 2018, my aim is for every passenger to have the choice of travelling without a paper ticket.
“So I am establishing a special project team, under senior leadership, to work with the industry, to sort this out. I see no reason why much of this cannot be introduced within the next two years.”
Mr Grayling described the current rail fare system as “complicated and illogical” and said it damaged the public’s trust in the railway.
He said the Government would work with the industry “to consider what could be done quickly to help passengers find and choose the best ticket for their journey.”
Transport for the North is already drawing up plans to create s smart ticketing system that allows passengers to travel seamlessly across the North of England using different kinds of public transport.