Tuesday 3 March 2020

The UIC passenger technical groups on ticket layout, ticket security and reservations systems held their meetings from 17 – 20 February 2020 in Vienna

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The Ticket Layout Group (TLG) meeting was attended by 27 participants from 15 railways and organisations, hosted by ÖBB in Vienna. The main topic discussed was the new layout for Print at Home rail tickets.

Due to the new functional features in the Flexible Content Barcode (FCB), all participants support the possibility to combine and to display on a print@home the multiple different types of passengers, animals or vehicles and the different legs of the journey. Due to the complexity, the existing A4 rail ticket (A4RT) layout is not suitable and therefore a new A4RT layout has been proposed to use in combination with FCB. All railways should now propose prototypes for the new standard. The work should be completed in 2020 and a new updated IRS 90918-8 available next year. TLG also produces an Excel document which describes all existing ticketing fulfilments methods available for each railway and country updated with the definitions for domestic and international tickets.

The Ticket Security Group meeting was attended by many participants from different railway operators. An important contribution came from DB, PKP intercity and ÖBB since they are implementing the first 2D barcode ticketing solution, used in the IRS90918-9 described FCB (Flexible Content Barcode). Their questions and remarks are very important for the finetuning of the standard (“the proof of the pudding is in the eating”).

There was a presentation given by the president of the TSG, Kurt De Vriendt, showing an improved security mechanism for barcodes by making them “dynamic”, meaning that they could change, because of some parameters like e.g. a timestamp. This dynamic barcode could help to sell tickets that can be anonymous (e.g. for tickets with a mass transit leg or a Door 2 Door solution).

Kurt also raised the fact that the actual DSA (Digital Signing Algorithm) might become hackable in the future (5Y) and that the signatures should become bigger. This is no longer possible in the actual header of the barcode (still the old 918-3 header), so the header should be reviewed, also an opportunity to prepare the header for the dynamic barcodes. The TSG decided that these developments should go on to make the FCB future-proof but that a good timing has to be defined to ensure a smooth transition.

The meeting of Passenger Services Solutions took place on the 19th and 20th. The main topics discussed were the migration of reservation systems at some railways, the current implementation of the ETCD data base for ticket control by UIC and the upcoming new fare data exchange specification IRS 90918-10. MAV, SZ and ÖBB presented their migration plans for their reservation systems and the migration of the connections was discussed.

The current status of the new implementation of IRS90918-4 with a central data base was presented and a few modifications on the interface were agreed. Additional railways showed an interest in joining the implementation this year. The new fare structure model is a temporary joint work group with the fare experts of SPG to allow the exchange and booking not only of static fares but also of dynamic fares. The work started in April last year. The scope had been extended at the end of last year to cover the exchange of fare data and to provide a complete interface that also covers reservation. The work is now almost completed and the draft for the upcoming IRS 90918-10 was presented and discussed.

For more information, please contact Fabrice Setta, UIC Senior Advisor Passenger Transport:


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