Two and a half years after Unicard signed a deal with the UK’s Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to deploy its HOPS cloud ticketing system across the country’s rail networks. 

RDG confirmed it has completed the “back-office migration” to the system, meaning it is ready to deliver “smart ticketing” via its cloud-based product. 

HOPS, or Host or Operator Processing System, supports transactions for all the UK Train Operating Companies (TOCs) across the varied network, and will allow tracking so RDG and individual service providers can monitor passenger behaviours and sales patterns. 

“It is a cloud-based platform that supports smart-ticketing solutions for multiple train operators rather than a traditionally hosted back office. It is more energy efficient with most of the power used being renewable and is the first of its kind in the rail sector,” RDG and Unicard explained. 

RDG has created 16 separate “back rooms”, one each for the TOCs involved, which Unicard said makes it quicker and easier to set up new configurations, onboard new train operators, and track smart ticket data and transactions.  

The system renewal is part of RDG’s “Smart Ticketing Hub” programme, which will also include projects to enable contactless bank card acceptance on rail, the Pay As You Go tap converter service and smartphone-based ticketing.  

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“Flexible smart ticketing infrastructure provided by Unicard not only enables us to meet present customer demands with agility but also has the potential to accommodate other forms of smart ticketing in the future,” said Simon Moorhead, chief information officer at RDG.

Unicard’s CEO Sean Dickinson added: “As well as the ability to make continuous improvements to the passenger experience of ITSO ticketing. Unicard supports RDG’s commitment to driving innovation, creating a set of common standards and making rail travel easier.”