Innovative ticketing Group (TAP NT) is a group of UIC experts. Its scope is to investigate all innovative, non conventional techniques for issuing railway tickets, and to define common standards for the use of such techniques among the community of UIC members.
The TAP NT monitors currently two sectors of activity where some railways (European and overseas) are already active, in order to detect the possible need for the definition of UIC standards, suitable to improve the interoperability and the reuse of experience :
- Air/Rail intermodality Various railways adopted IATA-like codifications for trains and stations, especially for new high speed services, in order to be sold by the operators exactly in the same way as they sell flights, appearing on the same screen display of the GDSs.
- Internet in motion Various railways have experimented, and in some cases are using, different techniques (satellite, radio links) to make available fast and reliable data connections on board of even high speed trains, both for use of the on board staff and to offer to the passengers access to the Internet as well as audio/video entertainment.
One of the key results of the TAP NT group is project PET (Paperless Electronic Ticketing).
Its scope is to investigate all innovative, non conventional techniques for issuing railway tickets, and to define common standards for the use of such techniques among the community of UIC members.
In a first phase PET has studied the possible use of chip cards as ticket support, but it came out that this media is much more suitable for interoperability at local level (regional railways, urban buses, metro) than for international journeys.
Therefore the TAP NT, while still looking at the evolutions in the chip card-ticketing, to see if there are possibilities to make of it an international railway-ticket standard, then focused PET on the use of internet, and precisely on the home printing techniques. All the major railways are trying to cut distribution costs, allowing their customers to buy tickets at home on the web, letting them pay by credit card and print locally their tickets on A4 paper. At national level this is already possible in most technologically advanced countries, but the adopted solutions are different from each other and in general not compatible.
PET has acknowledged the existence of such different experiences, and has therefore defined a standard (described now in leaflet 918-3 "IRTHP : International Rail Ticket for Home Printing ") where the security systems adopted independently by the different carriers do not need any change : each carrier has just to send to the ticket issuer its own "security certificate", i.e. any piece of information (string of characters, 1D bar code, 2D bar code) whose correctness its own on board staff is able to check.