Is the traditional rail ticket a thing of the past?

 New research reveals more than one in four passengers would prefer online and mobile tickets

New research conducted by CrossCountry, which carries tens of thousands of passengers across the National Rail network every day, including throughOxford station, reveals the growing trend for speed and convenience as passengers purchase train tickets.


Of those polled, just over one in four (26%) would prefer to buy tickets using a train ticketing app. Many customers are planning ahead to get the best deals with one in five respondents buying tickets either a month or fortnight in advance. Although 33% of ticket sales are now online, almost half of passengers are still buying their tickets at station ticket offices or ticket machines. However, the trends towards smartphone and online are clear with over a quarter saying they would like to use an e-ticket in future.

CrossCountry has seen increasing demand from passengers wanting to book online or through a ticketing app as they look to save time and money. In response to this trend the rail company launched its free app which allows passengers to buy tickets across the whole National Rail network without a booking fee, look up train times, see live departures and get tickets delivered to the app on their mobile phone.

Malcolm Jarrett, a Train Manager for CrossCountry who works on services out of Oxford station, has seen first-hand how the app has made things easier for passengers: “Queuing at ticket machines is fast becoming a thing of the past. Walking through a carriage you see more and more people tapping away on their mobile phones and tablets. It’s definitely changed the way many of our passengers buy tickets and it’s easy to see why – all the information they need to plan their journey is at hand, there are no booking fees to pay and CrossCountry Advance tickets can be delivered to the app on their mobile phone. We expect demand to grow as people lead increasingly busy lives and have less time for more traditional methods of ticketing.”


App-happy passengers:

– Since launching in September 2011 over 220,000 people have downloaded CrossCountry’s free app

– Over 50,000 tickets have been sold through the app

– Over 10,000 m-tickets have been delivered to mobile phones

– The app has been most popular with iPhone users followed by Android users

– iPhone users are also most likely to buy their tickets using the app

– Fridays tend to be the most popular day for using the app


For train times and bookings download the app for free by visiting your app store and searching for CrossCountry.


Media enquiries

Hannah Keddie or Sarah Hartland at Grayling – 02380 382970 or


Notes to editors

1.    Research was conducted in the summer of 2012. 2,944 passengers were surveyed.

2.    At and on CrossCountry’s Train Tickets app passengers can book ANY rail journey, with ANY train operator for anywhere in Britain with NO booking fee.

3.    CrossCountry started operating on 11 November 2007. The franchise, which is the most extensive in the UK, will run until 31 March 2016. For further information on CrossCountry services visit or follow us on Twitter at @crosscountryuk, and our student Facebook page,

4.    Arriva is one of the largest private sector providers of passenger transport in Europe, employing more than 43,500 people (including share of associate companies) and providing more than one billion passenger journeys every year.

5.    Arriva provides transport services including buses, trains, commuter coaches and water buses, and operates in 12 European countries: Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

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