“Gate line barriers are now a norm at all but the most rural stations in the UK, and this is the situation in many other developed countries. Experience showed that open-access stations led to a rapid increase in fraudulent travel, with on-train ticket checks only recovering a small percentage of the lost revenue, and thus gate free stations are not an option in the foreseeable future.
“The regular commuter with an electronically encoded ticket or a smart bank card knows precisely how to get through a barrier line, but the occasional traveller is often bemused by what has to be done and a sense of impatience quickly arises if one is held up by a ‘ditherer’ who searches in wallet or pockets for the correct card or piece of paper.
“At main line stations, where travellers often have printed-off paper tickets as part of an advance fare promotion, the gates do not always recognise the bar code being scanned, with inevitable delay to other passengers as queues quickly form. The advent of paperless tickets further complicates the problem if an authority on a smart phone is proffered up with a fair chance of this not being recognised.
“So what can be done to sort out this potentially growing situation? The RSSB has initiated a project with industry to try and find a solution that will help regular travellers in the short term and the general travelling public as a longer-term objective…”