Mobile tickets are on their way

Mobile tickets are on their way

10 August 2018

Loco2 mobile tickets for travel throughout the UK and Europe are on their way. Here’s a sneak peek.

There are more than 2500 railway stations in the UK, and more than 15,000 in Western Europe. Nearly every one has one or more automated ticket machines that cost travellers and taxpayers about €/£25,000 each for purchase and installation. Add to it that ticket machines increase ticket costs by 13% on average versus buying online and you’ll realise that their benefits aren’t always great.

But since the advent of railways in the 19th century, paper tickets have been as important to train travel as wheels on track. For more than a century, purchasing from railway staff and/or queuing up at a ticket machine was the only way one could legitimately travel. Buying tickets online and printing at home has become de rigeur since the turn of this century, but even in 2018 more than £2 billion will be spent at UK ticket machines. But everything dies, and it’s with great pleasure that we announce the end of the paper ticket for rail travel anywhere.

After many months of design and development, we’re soon releasing Loco2’s Universal Mobile Ticket, which will allow you to travel across the UK and Western Europe by rail with nothing but your mobile phone. We’re proud of this because no one has ever done it before and it makes life better. Which are pretty much two of the things about which we’re most obsessed.

The Universal Mobile Ticket is part of a process designed to realise a vision of a simpler, better travel experience in which paper tickets, ticket machines, and even at station purchases no longer exist. Where every ticket is available as soon as you’ve purchased it, in a place you know you can always find it: on your mobile device.

When you simplify things, life often gets better. And in this case, it also gets cheaper. Instead of spending a hundred million pounds to buy and service ticket machines in the UK, that money could be spent on something else. Or better yet, just passed on to consumers to make train travel cheaper. Plus it saves paper.

We’re so excited about this that we thought it was  time to give you a sneak peek before the tickets are fully functional on Loco2 a bit later this year. So here are the details:

What is the Universal Mobile Ticket?

The Universal Mobile Ticket (UMT) is an electronic ticket, automatically available in the Loco2 mobile app, as soon as you buy a ticket from Loco2. The UMT is made available whether you buy via our mobile app or via desktop/our website. After purchasing, just look on the Loco2 mobile app and the ticket will be there. If you don’t have the app (available for free on the App Store and Play Store), as soon as you get it and log in, your tickets will be there.

How is the Universal Mobile Ticket unique? 

Loco2’s UMT will work with essentially any operator in the UK and Western Europe. So whether you plan to travel from Liverpool to Leeds, London to Lille, or Lyon to Lucca - or Liverpool to Lucca! - you’ll have the same ticket with the same look and feel delivered to you. 

Must I have to have the Loco2 app to get the Universal Mobile Ticket? 

No. We'll still email the tickets to you and - for now at least - you’ll still have the option to print the tickets at home or collect them from a ticket machine at a station using your booking confirmation number. I mean I guess we could technically even deliver tickets via Pony Express. Or carrier pigeon? Or maybe like this? Point is the Universal Mobile Tickets seems a lot better. We’re hoping you’ll agree!

Is the Universal Mobile Ticket truly universal? Can I really go anywhere with it? 

No. You can’t go to China, or the moon, or even to Winchester, because the rail operator providing services to Winchester doesn’t allow mobile tickets. And Loco2 doesn’t sell tickets to China. Yet. So for a small number of routes you’ll still have to print a ticket, which makes us sad. What you can be certain of is that if a UK or European rail operator supports mobile tickets then they’re covered in the Loco2 Universal Mobile Ticket. That includes the vast majority of the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, and will soon include Benelux, Austria, Switzerland and a bunch of other places you think about going to a lot but almost never do. Maybe you should get out more.

How much does it cost?

Electronic tickets don’t cost money; ticket machines, printers and paper tickets do. So we don’t charge for the Universal Mobile Ticket, but we may start charging if you don’t use it (ie if you use a paper ticket when an electronic version is available), and give that money to a charity. That way, no matter what you choose you’ll be doing something to make life better, and help the environment too! 

When will the Universal Mobile Ticket become available?

As soon as the UK rail governing body (RDG: Rail Delivery Group) gives its formal approval. Shouldn’t be long now. They’re pretty nice.

What will they look like?

That's easy, let us show you! 


So to summarise the advantages of the Universal Mobile Ticket:

  • This launch will make Loco2 the only place where, in one transaction, you’ll be able to book multi-leg national and international trips and then travel with tickets on your phone!
  • We’re allowing you paperless, environmentally-friendly, seamless and (since you’re on a train) stylish travel in the UK and across Europe.
  • Mobile tickets save time by letting you beat the queues and bypass the ticket machines.
  • They’ll be accepted by every operator that accepts mobile tickets.

The only question left to ask is where will your mobile tickets be taking you? We’ve got some great ideas for long weekends away with rail or even taking the train to some of Europe’s top cycle routes. The choice is yours and we hope Universal Mobile Tickets will make it all the easier to get there. From the booking process to arrival, we care how you get there!


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