Unicard News
Contactless rail payments go live in Wales
Transport for Wales providing cheaper fares with Unicard Ticketing Hub
February 8th 2024 by Unicard

Transport for Wales (TfW) has officially launched a new contactless tap in, tap out payment service – powered by Unicard Ticketing Hub – which offers cheaper rail fares to travellers.

The phased rollout of the scheme has now entered the “live pilot” stage on journeys between Cardiff Central, Newport and Pontyclun.

The Pay As You Go scheme will be extended across South Wales throughout 2024, covering 95 stations, with the Ebbw Vale line planned for the next phase.

The new fares will usually be cheaper than the previous fares, and they will be capped to offer the best value to customers.

You can watch the TfW video below to see the Pay As You Go system in action.

Unicard Ticketing Hub has enabled TfW to become the first UK train operator outside of London to deploy contactless EMV (cEMV) services, which means travellers do not have to pre-purchase a paper or digital ticket for their journey.

Ticketing Hub allows customers to instead use a payment card or mobile device to tap in and out on validators on rail platforms, or gates at ticket barriers, at the start and end of every train journey.

Ticketing Hub receives and processes these taps, sending them to iBlocks Account Based Ticketing Back Office - one of Unicard’s strategic partners - which calculates the value of each trip, taking into account customers’ travel patterns and behaviour. Unicard then ensure that an accurate and secure payment is made based on the overall journey.

Importantly, unlike other contactless EMV card solutions, Ticketing Hub is agnostic to the card reader used. The Unicard solution is multi-modal and multi-operator, and allows scheme administrators to mix equipment within a single deployment.

"TfW and Unicard have delivered a proven model for best-value travel which we hope will be an inspiration to other regions around the UK."

Alex Sbardella


Alex Sbardella, Commercial and Product Director at Unicard, said: "It’s fantastic to see our project with Transport for Wales go live, delivering a significant improvement in passenger experience by giving rail passengers outside of London access to tap-in-tap-out with contactless cards for the first time. With it, TfW and Unicard have delivered a proven model for best-value travel which we hope will be an inspiration to other regions around the UK.

"Both the Unicard-Ecebs team in East Kilbride and the team at TfW have worked incredibly hard over the last few years to implement our Ticketing Hub solution, and it wouldn’t have happened without the strong working relationship we have built together. We are looking forward to where the partnership takes us in the future, and how the convenience and value of public transport will continue to improve for the people of Wales."