Southeastern is rolling out smart cards for commuters from 5 December

Rebecca Smith
Southeastern is introducing paperless commuting for its passengers
Southeastern is introducing paperless commuting for its passengers (Source: Getty)

Apparently Monday morning queues for Southeastern passengers are soon to become a thing of the past. You can but hope...

That's because they'll be able to swap a paper season ticket for a new smart card called "The Key", which is meant to deliver more convenient, paperless commuting. I

t's being rolled out from 5 December, initially for weekly, monthly or annual season tickets.

The £5.5m project is part of the Department for Transport's (DfT) South East Flexible Ticketing (SEFT) programme.

Read more: Do you catch Britain's worst train? (Hint: highly likely)

"From 5 December, our passengers will be able to unlock the benefits of smart, paperless ticketing and speedy, tap-and-go travel," said Southeastern's managing director David Statham.

Up to five tickets can be stored on the new smart card at any one time – each must be bought and loaded separately. Unlike the Oyster card, The Key does not hold funds or credit.

If stolen it can be cancelled, or "hot listed", to stop anyone else using it fraudulently; a replacement is then issued, free of charge, pre-loaded with any existing tickets.

Southeastern is owned by Govia. It's the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for 28.7 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its four rail companies, Southern, Southeastern, Govia Thameslink Railway and London Midland.

‚ÄčRead more: Southern rail operator Govia bills Network Rail for more than £48m

Rail minister Paul Maynard MP said: "This new smart card is great news for season ticket holders on Southeastern who will no longer have to rely on paper tickets. Monday morning queues to buy tickets before you board will also be a thing of the past."

He said the DfT was making "the biggest investment in the railways in Britain since Victorian times", with an aim for every passenger to be able to travel without a paper ticket by the end of 2018.

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