PASSENGERS on the London Underground had their first chance to use touch-screen ticket vending machines this summer. Installed by the TranSys consortium, the first machines replaced the existing Multifare TVMs at Temple and West Brompton stations. Over 60 stations were to be equipped by the end of July, and around 330 touch-screen machines should be in use across the whole LU network by the end of this year.

Passengers can choose menus in English or one of five foreign languages, including Japanese, with a gentle touch sufficing to activate a menu selection thanks to sound wave activation. The machines accept credit and debit cards as well as coins and notes, and there are ’quick’ buttons for the most popular tickets.

The machines are designed for use with contactless smart cards which are to be introduced in London in August 2002. A programme will commence early that year to modify them to accept and recharge the cards.

TranSys Chief Executive Alan Oliver says that ’the new technology ... will make buying a ticket incredibly easy’, and help to reduce queues. Trials have demonstrated that passengers adapt easily to the new machines.

TranSys consists of EDS, Cubic Corp, ICL, and WS Atkins. n

German Railway has introduced touch-screen machines for sale of tickets for long-distance journeys throughout Germany. Supplied by H