iBlocks/Tracsis in partnership with Unicard deploys contactless rail travel with Transport for Wales

27 September 23

iBlocks, a company within the Tracsis Group and an established provider of Account Based Ticketing (ABT) solutions within the UK Public Transport Sector, is in partnership with Unicard delivering a programme for customers on the South Wales Metro that will enable Pay As You Go travel (PAYG) using contactless EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) card payments. The integration between the iBlocks back office and the validation devices is delivered through the Unicard solution.

The deployed solution will enable TfW to become the first UK train operator outside of Transport for London to deploy contactless EMV ticketing services. The contactless EMV rollout will begin with a pilot scheme running between Newport, Cardiff and Pontyclun. This will be expanded to cover the South Wales Metro area next year, with an intention to also enable a multi-modal solution including bus in a similar timescale.

Someone tapping in on a contactless rail card reader.

The iBlocks ABT solution, known as smartTIS, enables rail customers to travel by simply “tapping in” at a ticket gate or platform validator at the start of their journey and “tapping out” at the end of their journey. smartTIS then calculates the cheapest fare to charge the customer and debits that from their registered bank account at the end of their day’s travel. smartTIS will apply “fare capping” rules such that the customer benefits from discounts if they exceed a certain level of travel cost within a day or a week. Further developments are planned in the solution which will enable customers to benefit from discounts associated with concessionary cards for both rail and bus.

iBlocks also provide Transport for Wales with their rail “Delay-Repay” solution, known as smartREPAY, which issues compensation to customers when their train is delayed. smartREPAY will be integrated with smartTIS so that the “Delay-Repay” process can be automated, making it a more frictionless experience for customers. The Tracsis delay repay solution now covers over 70% of the UK rail market.

Tim Brewer, Managing Director of iBlocks, said “This is our fifth PAYG smart ticketing contract win with a UK Train Operating Company. However, it is our first solution using contactless EMV which will pave the way for further deployments. We expect to deploy, with partners, a second contactless EMV solution for another rail customer next year. We have now demonstrated that smartTIS can be used with the full breadth of different travel tokens, ITSO cards, mobile barcode and contactless EMV, demonstrating that our smartTIS ABT solution is agnostic of the token type that customers use.”

Chris Barnes, CEO of Tracsis Group, added: “The breadth of our smart ticketing solution will significantly improve customer experience and choice across public transport in the UK. Tracsis will continue to invest in technology development and business growth as we scale our operations and continue to roll out our accredited and proven Account Based Ticketing solution to customers of rail, bus and light rail”.


iBlocks first delivered an ITSO card based ABT solution back in 2014 for Southern Railways which then in 2015 was expanded to include the complete Greater Thameslink Railway. Since then, iBlocks has developed and deployed ABT solutions to two other major Train Operating Companies in the UK; South Western Railway (2018) and Greater Western Railway (2021). In conjunction with Transport for Wales, iBlocks now has deployed solutions with Train Operating Companies which cover a significant part of the UK rail network, with a further addition to be contracted and deployed shortly.

More details about the solution will be shared at the Smartex TCF23 event in Liverpool on the 27th of September.