Mobile Ticketing – Paper or Plastic – Some Thoughts

Thalys rail is pretty innovative when it comes to onboard Internet in their trains and ticketing. In addition to the standard tickets than can be bought at the railway station or via the Internet and then sent to you, they also offer print-out tickets via the web, they offer using the Paris metro card (Navigo) as a ticket and they also have a completely ticket-less offer in combination with a mobile phone for trip details and last minute updates. Lots of options to choose from.

It might be surprising but so far I haven't touched the ticket-less option yet, I still much prefer something to print out and to take it with me. It's mainly habitual I guess, but there are quite a number of other reasons for that as well:

  • I don't have to register.
  • I usually order my tickets a long time in advance, like for example 6 weeks. A lot can happen in 6 weeks.
  • I usually don't travel alone so buying one ticket for the mobile phone and one on paper makes things difficult.
  • I like having a piece of paper I can use to look up times, train numbers, etc. again.
  • Should I loose the ticket, I can just print it out again. That's much simpler than figuring out what to do should I loose my metro card or, heaven forbid, my mobile phone.

But I guess one of these days I will register and give it a try because there is one important advantage of going ticket-less with Thayls: Their print-out tickets can't be exchanged or returned so the sale is final.  In other words, not all tickets can be printed out. I am not quite sure, but it seems the ticket-less tickets can be modified just like the plain old ones. Well, we shall see.

One way or another, mobile and virtual tickets haven't quite arrived here yet.