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  • TCF

    The TCF was established by Smartex in 1997 at the request of the UK Department for Transport (DfT). It is a membership-based association open to all who are involved professionally with transport applications of smart cards and other smart customer media within the UK. The TCF is a forum where members and delegates from the public and private sector meet for discussion and mutual education relating to smart ticketing, smart payment, journey management and reporting, and to the underlying technologies supporting such applications.

    Originally established to assist in enabling the implementation of integrated transport policies as set out in the 1998 UK government Integrated Transport White Paper, its role has been updated and strengthened with the publishing in 2009 of a specific government strategy for smart and integrated ticketing on public transport in England. There have been parallel developments in Wales and Scotland. The TCF meets in plenary sessions 4 times per year. Much of its work is carried out in Working Groups which address issues of the moment and report back to the TCF, often with recommendations for the DfT to consider.

    What our members say: “Everyone who’s anyone in the transport industry is a member of The TCF” Mel Pashley, Ecebs “The TCF is uniquely valuable as it delivers instant access to the sector leaders and their wide-ranging knowledge. The Forum is tremendously useful for the DfT as it represents stakeholders in smart cards and in many related areas such as e-payment.” Eric Sampson, formerly Director of Vehicle Telematics, DfT

  • 2019 Meetings


    This Forum meets quarterly.  Meeting subjects are selected by the TCF Steering Group.  Amongst the topics and activities that we are likely to be addressing are:

    • Updates from the DfT and the devolved administrations for current and proposed smart ticketing and payment strategies
    • Establishment of TCF Working Groups for analysis and recommendations on topical issues
    • The continuing development of mobiles for transport applications such as journey planning, ticketing, boarding cards, payment and many other useful applications for travellers
    • The deployment of MaaS and its impact
    • Biometric techniques for public transport applications
    • Account-based ticketing (ABT) and its impact
    • Will the future bring a national account-based central system for transport payments?
    • Monitoring of initiatives and plans for commercial smart ticketing and payment
    • Developing effective Real-Time-Information systems
    • Smart and mobile ticketing and payment on National Rail
    • Exposing relevant technical issues and proposed solutions, for example for bus exit reading & ungated train stations
    • Using tokenisation technology to improve security
    • Pay-As-You-Go in urban areas – multi modal, multi operator, capping
    • Will tickets disappear?
    • Updates on the progress of the ITSO specifications, and of ITSO for Mobiles
    • cEMV contactless card technology and its evolving role in UK public transport
    • Do UK transport operators really want interoperability?
    • The how, where, when, why and what of TfN, and its interaction with other regional schemes
    • Improving the whole-journey experience with smart technology
    • Assessment of winners and losers in the transport contactless payment arena
    • Are beacons or BLE going to happen in transport?
    • QR code deployment is growing, especially in Rail – what is their future role?
    • Case studies from UK LA-controlled and commercial smart transport scheme operators
    • Case studies from overseas smart transport initiatives
    • What do different groups of passengers want?
    • Inclusion of “adjacent modes”: parking, taxi, bike hire, Demand Responsive Transport
    • The impact of good deployment and staff training
    • Commercial exploitation of transport data
    • The ongoing impact of changes in legislation and regulation
    • Ridership trends and strategies/tactics to address
    • The fate of small operators
    • Relevant global macro trends in transport
    • Impact of “disruptive players”: Google, Amazon, Apple…
    • TCF19: Bristol is the location for our annual two-day regional conference & exhibition


    Meeting Agendas and Dates

    • For 2019 meeting dates and agendas please click here.
  • Smartex's annual two-day Conference and Exhibition for the TCF

    21st & 22nd September 2021
    The Old Ship Hotel, Kings Road, Brighton BN1 1NR


    Free attendance for transport operators and Local Authorities


    We are delighted to announce that this year’s two-day Conference & Exhibition, TCF21, will take place at The Old Ship Hotel in Brighton on the 21st and 22nd September 2021.

    Following nearly 18 months of enforced virtual contact, this key networking event in the smart transport calendar will once more bring together transport operators, service providers, Central and Local Government bodies and other industry specialists.

    TCF21 will give you a unique opportunity to understand and debate the huge impact that Covid-related events have had on the public transport sector, and ways by which smart technology can support the rebuilding of an effective and sustainable public transport landscape.

    • Transport Operators (FREE, terms apply, see below)
    • Local Authorities (FREE, terms apply, see below)
    • Product and Service Suppliers (terms apply, see below)
    • Anyone with an interest in passenger transport and trends affecting the smart transport technology industry (terms apply, see below)
    • Hear how to rebuild passenger confidence in public transport journeys
    • Appreciate the fundamental shifts happening in smart public transport
    • Learn from expert speakers about the emerging strategy and tactics for matching the quality and spread of smart transport systems to the travel requirements of the new generation of passengers
    • See demonstrations of modern smart ticketing, payment and related products
    • Discover the latest technologies that are revolutionising ticketing, payments and much more
    • Network with senior transport industry officials
    • Enjoy again our legendary Smartex hospitality!


    The conference element of TCF21 is planned to include the following main subject areas, each of which will be supported by a number of short presentations and/or debates:

    • Making travel simple: using technology for smarter transport decisions
    • How has Covid changed us? And what has Covid taught us about the future of ticket types and payment methods?
    • National strategies:
      • DfT role
      • Bus and train operator views
    • Regional plans – updates from the regions
    • Sustainable transport initiatives and developments:
      • Future Transport Zone: boosting smart transport initiatives
      • Data, Development and DRT
      • Bus decarbonisation
      • Sustainable mobility: smart bikes
      • Autonomous vehicles/MaaS
      • Emerging standards
      • What's next in wallets
      • Flexi Season Tickets
      • SWIFT Account Based Ticketing (ABT)
    • New solutions for smart public transport
      • 'Real' mobile solutions
      • TfW North Wales Capping pilot
      • Ticketing in all forms
      • Without baggage:  what does an EMV-only world look like?
      • Flowbird in Monaco: mass integration with parking
      • Modern Ticketing - Fujitsu's digital transformation vision
    • Smart transport activities and projects
      • ITSO update
      • The future of transport in London
      • Hertfordshire CC Bus Project
      • White-label EMV
    • Imagining public transport futures for 2050

    The above content may be amended if necessary.


    TCF21 will be supported and enriched by sponsors and other exhibitors, who will be on hand to demonstrate and explain their latest products and services for this sector, and whose generosity permits Smartex to offer free attendance to invited non-member transport operators and Local Government bodies with transport schemes.


    The following will be included:

    • Participation at all sessions on both days
    • Access to all available presentation material
    • Refreshments on arrival and throughout both days, including two buffet luncheons
    • Cocktail reception

    The following are not included, and if required, must be reserved and paid for by participating delegates:

    • Overnight accommodation
    • Dinner on the evening of 21st September

    Our informal evening cocktail reception will be held in the exhibition room on Tuesday, 21st September.


    We are planning our traditional annual event dinner, and this will be held after the cocktail reception at a nearby restaurant.  Guests will be asked to pay for their own meals, and this may be done in advance with Smartex.


    We have reserved a limited number of rooms at the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton (the event venue) at the preferential rate of £105 B&B.  To book, please call 01273 766118 and quote reference: STCF290121.


    Current Smartex members with remaining attendance entitlements for a normal TCF one-day meeting may attend free-of-charge within their membership, and this event will count as one day of attendance, even if both days are attended.  Sponsors/exhibitors will each be offered two delegate passes for the conference sessions.

    • Delegates from non-member transport operators and Local Authorities may attend free-of-charge for both days
    • Other non-members may attend at a cost of £200 + VAT per delegate per day

    If you would like to reserve your place at TCF21, please register via our Online Booking Form, where you will be able to select your particular attendance requirements.

    We shall of course be adhering to any social distancing rules that may be in place at the time, and will introduce a range of new safety measures so that you can have every confidence that we are taking all reasonable precautions to keep you safe.


    If you have any questions relating to TCF21 attendance or would be interested in becoming an event sponsor/exhibitor, please contact me at or on +44 (0)7785 254405.

  • TCF News

    Updated on 5th August 2021

    Digital health passes advance through testing as air traffic gradually recovers
    Biometric Update
    Digital health passes, including ones utilizing biometric identity verification technology from Yoti and Evernym, are advancing through various stages of the testing process as the aviation industry slowly returns to normal operations.

    Conduent Transportation Introduces Contactless Payment Across Public Transportation Network in Bergamo, Italy
    Conduent Transportation, a global business unit of Conduent Incorporated (Nasdaq: CNDT), today announced the successful implementation and rollout of a contactless payment system that allows tickets to be purchased directly on board buses and funicular railways managed by Azienda Trasporti Bergamo (ATB) and trams managed by its associated company, Tramvie Elettriche Bergamasche (TEB). Nearly 600 contactless validators have been installed on all vehicles in the ATB and TEB network that serves a population of approximately 380,000 residents.

    Harnessing smart tech to rebuild trust in public transport post-pandemic
    New Civil Engineer
    Recent research into the role of smart technology in post-pandemic cities commissioned by Milestone Systems has highlighted one area in particular ...

    Moscow Metro launches public biometric ticketing trial
    NFC World
    The system enables passengers to pay their fares at metro station turnstiles using facial recognition technology to verify their identity and authenticate ...

    What's Driving Contactless Payments In Transit — And How Agencies Can Ensure A Smooth Rollout
    As the CEO of a company focused on delivering contactless payments for transit, it's my experience that minimizing payment friction and providing ...

    UK undergoing ‘green travel boom’ thanks to £338m government funding
    The UK is set to continue it’s ‘green travel boom’ with multi-million pound government funding. The government has announced it is increasing its nationwide investment into cycling and walking - announced at the Spending Review - to £338m.

    First Bus, Ticketer and Littlepay Roll Out One of the Largest Tap On / Tap Off Schemes Outside London – Ticketer
    A partnership between First Bus, Ticketer and Littlepay has led to the implementation of one of the largest Tap On / Tap Off (TOTO) schemes outside of London. The First Leicester fleet launched 92 Tap Off readers in June, which were installed over a four-day period, and First Bus Potteries have introduced 105 readers across their fleet. TOTO is a multi-operator scheme developed by Ticketer and Littlepay, a transit-focused payment service provider, that offers a simple way for passengers to pay for travel by enabling them to tap on and tap off at the start and end of their journeys using a contactless card.

    Thales will offer a contactless e-ticket for all type of transport and whatever the operator is
    Thales Group
    Thales's interoperable ticketing technology is now fully Visa Ready for Transit certified. After software certification earlier in 2020, the hardware components of the TRANSCITY™ solution — the BV600 validator and PG600 access gate — have now been certified.

    Major change to London Underground payment system scrapped
    How we go about our daily lives has changed drastically during the pandemic and while contactless and cash free payments are not new, many ...

    Payment24 introduces 'vehicle biometrics' to fast track refuelling across Africa
    FastLane is a contactless “pay by car, not by card” solution. Last update: June 18, 2021. Author: PetrolPlaza Correspondent Pablo Plaza. Payment24's ...

    Smartcards on National Rail - Wikipedia
    Contactless smartcards are being progressively introduced as an alternative option to ... ITSO cards can now be used on Oyster card readers.

  • Ten Reasons to Join Smartex

      1. How will the explosive growth of IoT affect our market?
      2. Smart cards could soon be superseded by mobiles, but how and when?
      3. Which comms technologies, such as NFC, QR Barcodes, BLE or iBeacons could dominate?
      4. What is the national strategy for commercial public transport payment systems?
      5. How will the new breed of challenger banks impact existing Schemes and banks?
      6. Who will win in the emerging micropayment, e-payment, prepaid and m-payment worlds?
      7. Who will win the m-wallet wars, and is there really a future for m-wallets?
      8. How can we absorb and benefit from the biometrics revolution?
      9. Will fingerprint readers be in the smartphone, in the point-of-service device, or both?
      10. When will smart campus schemes migrate to mobiles and adopt biometrics?


    Smartex Forums debate & seek answers to these and other pressing, highly topical issues.

    Since 1993, over 570 of our sector-specific meetings have attracted over 18,500 delegate-days of attendance, with over 2,150 specialist speakers covering the entire spectrum of smart cards, the smartphone revolution, IoT, biometrics, RFID tags, wearables and related technologies as applied to the main smart market areas.  With so many new technologies, applications and form factors on the near horizon, it’s hard to understand or even imagine our industry without Smartex meetings and networking.

    Several of our Forums have become sector-specific, especially for transport ticketing and payment, for University and College smart campus schemes, and for the FinTech market. The newest Forum, IoTA, addresses the huge emerging opportunities relating to the little-understood Internet of Things.  We constantly modify the scope of our Forums to accommodate the ever-changing smart reality.   

    During 2018, some 550 different individuals attended our meetings, representing nearly 300 organizations.  Worldwide membership, covering our affiliated associations in Asia Pacific and Central Eastern Europe, exceeds 220 companies from all parts of our industry.  Networking, and doing business with fellow members and other delegates, not only in the UK but also through our affiliated Forums overseas, is therefore yet another real benefit of membership.

    Annual membership fees, which have not risen for several years, can be as low as £1,100 - for 4 full-day attendances and a wide range of other useful services - which makes £1,000+ for a one-day public conference look pretty expensive.  Can you afford not to be part of this influential group at the heart of these fast-moving and volatile technologies so vital in the new e- and m-worlds?

    Join Us Now

  • Members' Pages

    Members have access to restricted content.

    To access presentations from past meetings of our forums, click on the links below:



    Smart Payments Forum

    Mobile & Identity Forum

    Internet of Things Association

    International Biometrics Forum - coming soon

    Delegates' Area

    Delegates have access to presentations from the latest Smartex meeting.

    Delegate Presentations

  • January 2019.

    Three WGs have been set up:

    WG27 - Smart Integration for Whole Journeys

    WG28 - Developing a compelling Public Transport journey experience for tomorrow’s generation of travellers

    WG29 - Maximising the Value of PT-Generated Data

    If you are interested in participating in any of these, please contact