Greater Anglia joins campaign to tell rail passengers “It’s time to make the switch” to digital tickets

Published on: Monday, 14 October 2019
Last updated: Monday, 9 March 2020

A national campaign kicks off this week to encourage rail passengers to embrace new technology and move away from paper tickets.

‘Smart Week’, co-ordinated by the Rail Delivery Group, is an industry wide campaign which runs from 14 – 20 October.

It will see events at stations across the country – including nine of Greater Anglia’s busiest stations, Billericay, Bishop’s Stortford, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich, Wickford and Witham – to remind people of the benefits of digital tickets and encourage them to make the switch.

To date, a total of 75% of Greater Anglia’s season tickets holders are now seeing the benefits of convenient plastic cards over paper tickets.

Now the train operator hopes to encourage those buying Advance products, singles, or day returns to buy their ticket digitally too – either by purchasing via the Greater Anglia app or on a desktop and downloading the ticket to a mobile phone.

Martin Moran, Greater Anglia’s Commercial and Customer Service Director, said, “Buying a ticket digitally is more secure and durable than a paper ticket – which could get lost or spoiled - and saves time queuing at ticket machines so they are so much more convenient for passengers.

“We’ve worked hard, with our partners at the Department for Transport, to pioneer more convenient and integrated ticket products for our customers to make their lives a little easier when travelling with us.”

National data shows the monthly number of rail journeys taken with paper tickets dropped by 13.3 million year on year, saving over 1,100km of paper – equal to the distance between London and Barcelona.

The move away from paper follows major upgrades as the rail industry has worked together to improve technology, install and upgrade ticket barriers at stations and promote smart tickets to passengers.

Smart tickets can be kept securely, save passengers time with no need to queue and allow people to book online from anywhere for anyone. Covering both smartcards and barcode tickets on mobile phones, they are also less likely to wear out and stop working than paper tickets.

Using a Smart Card season ticket is much quicker than the traditional paper ticket as customers simply touch the smart card on the reader at ticket gates.

It also removes the need to queue at the ticket office to buy a season ticket as they can be purchased online at Once the card arrives, the season ticket is loaded onto the Smart Card by presenting it at the ticket gate or a ticket machine and is ready for use.

Smart cards are plastic and more durable and will open up greater opportunities in the future for developments such as flexible ticketing, tailored to the individual travellers’ needs.

Upgrading to a Smart Card is free and can be done when the season ticket is renewed, or an existing paper ticket can be swapped for a Smartcard if the season ticket has at least 30 days left to run.